West Virginia’s latest football commitment — four-star defensive end De’Asian Richardson of Orange Park (Fla.) High School — has the athleticism to play wideout for his prep team, even as he climbs toward the 300-pound mark.
Richardson chose the Mountaineers on Monday over scholarship offers from 23 other major-college programs, including Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, UCLA and Michigan State.
Orange Park head coach Danny Green, speaking with Tony Caridi on "Sportsline," said some schools are looking at Richardson as a tight end, because "we even moved him out to wideout last season. At 6-4, 285 pounds he gives us a big body out there with soft hands.
"I assume West Virginia recruited him as a defensive end or a three-technique," Green said. "But he’s going to be a pretty big kid. He’s going to wind up being a 300-pounder, so he might grow to be an inside-type player."
Click below for the MetroNews Statewide Sportsline interview with Danny Green:
Though Richardson sustained a torn ACL last season and has yet to be cleared for contact by doctors, Green said the player participated in spring drills and moved fluently during summertime seven-on-seven tournaments.
"We feel like he’s definitely ready to go," said Green, who hopes Richardson will be cleared before the season opener. "I don’t see any issues."
Nor does Green anticipate Richardson having trouble academically, saying "it looks like he’s in pretty good shape" to qualify.
The focus on Richardson this upcoming season is learning to play at a lower pad level and improving his strength.
"He’s benching 315 to 320, which isn’t bad, but he needs to get a little stronger," Green said.
Rivals rates Richardson as the 18th-best strong side defensive end prospect in the class of 2013 and the No. 45 overall prospect in talent-rich Florida. That’s comparable to 24/7sports.com, which rates Richardson 15th at his position nationally and 43rd in Florida.
"He can be a real dominant player," said Green, who has produced five NFL alumni during four decades as a high school coach. "He’s one of the better football players I’ve had. We feel like the sky’s the limit."