MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When University High senior Amir Richardson committed to play at West Virginia last July, he excitedly announced “I’m staying home, baby.”
Now Richardson will be forced to hit the road.
The Morgantown native saw his scholarship offer yanked on Friday with just two weeks remaining until the early signing period. Richardson, son of former Mountaineers defensive tackle Tony Richardson, was one of three in-state players committed to West Virginia in this year’s recruiting class.
Academics are no issue for Richardson, who has also fielded offers from Ivy League programs Columbia, Dartmouth and Yale.
According to Richardson, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen told him, “I wasn’t a Division I talent on defense, and that they had enough receivers.”
Richardson, a Rivals three-star prospect, was a standout receiver at University, where he was a teammate of Holgorsen’s son, Logan. Richardson was recruited to WVU as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker.
This season for the Hawks, Richardson had 45 tackles including five for loss. At receiver, he made 29 catches for 527 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had 336 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
University coach John Kelley offered strong praise for his player, as well as confidence that he will latch on with another program soon.
“A workaholic both on and off the field, in the weight room during off-season. A joy to coach,” Kelley said. “Has made countless big-time, spectacular plays. An academic leader at our school. Immaculate behavior.
“He will overcome this and land on his feet and be an excellent college player. No animosity towards West Virginia — we understand it’s a business. Decisions are made and this young man will clear this hurdle and move on to success.”
“[Amir] will overcome this and land on his feet and be an excellent college player. No animosity towards West Virginia — we understand it’s a business.” — University High coach John Kelley
West Virginia initially offered Richardson a scholarship in May 2017. The other schools he was considering before committing to the Mountaineers were Army, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Marshall, Pitt and Temple.
On the day of his commitment to the Mountaineers, Richardson explained, “My heart always was where home is. When you grow up in West Virginia, of course you want to go there.
“Now I can play Power Five football and still see my mother and my family every weekend. That was huge.”
Since he’s been committed to WVU since July, Richardson has no immediate runner-up program in mind.
“Life goes on,” he said. “I’ve gotta find a new school.”
West Virginia has 14 commits remaining in year’s class, with several visiting campus this weekend. According to Rivals.com, West Virginia’s class now ranks seventh in the Big 12 and 54th nationally after Richardson’s departure.
The Mountaineers are in hot pursuit of junior college transfer Dreshun Miller, who is currently committed to LSU. Miller, a four-star recruit who can play cornerback or safety, is one of the few scheduled visitors this weekend who hasn’t yet committed to WVU. Now there is an extra scholarship available should he choose to do so.
— Sean Manning contributed to this report.