The behind-the-scenes realities of the college recruitment process can be brutal and uncomfortable to come to terms with. Take University's Amir Richardson for example. After garnering multiple Division I offers from the likes of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, & Cincinnati among others, Amir chose his hometown school of WVU and committed before his high school senior season in July of 2018.
Four months later in a meeting with then Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen, his offer to play linebacker was pulled.
"The quote exactly was 'I was not a Division I linebacker in Coach Holgorsen's eyes,'" Richardson recalled. "That's basically saying 'you're not good enough."
Holgorsen told Amir he could walk-on to the team as a wide receiver, but after receiving DI interest and full-ride offers to many other school's, Amir declined.
His re-opened recruitment led him to Marshall University. Richardson committed to the Herd less than two weeks after that difficult conversation with Holgorsen and hasn't looked back.
"Something gravitated me to Marshall and I feel really confident in my decision," he said.
Richardson redshirted in his first season in Huntington and also switched positions. The coaching staff moved him from wide receiver to tight end towards the end of the season, and Amir was excited about the change.
"I went into it with a positive attitude and gave it my best," he said. "They were like 'wow, we have two tight ends that are fifth year seniors...There's not many returning scholarship tight ends so this could be a great outlet to get you on the field."
His first bonafide opportunity to play in his new position would have been spring football, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. He has continued to study the playbook, do workouts at home and attend virtual meetings in the tight end room, but its not the same.
"That would have been time to prove yourself and move up-and-down the depth chart," he said. "Going out and blocking and catching and doing things like that, I haven't been able to do since the bowl week."
One of Amir's goals is to eventually play professional football, but his perspective has widened through his big brother, Tony. The older Richardson played four years of football at VMI but tore his ACL in his final college game. He never received an opportunity to play in the NFL despite multiple attempts and recently decided to hang up the cleats
"That dream of going to the NFL will always light a fire under me because its what I wanted to do since I picked up a football in third grade. That’s always the ultimate goal but seeing what happened to my brother just showed me the realistic aspect of how hard that is and that made me turn to my academics and take those more serious. No matter what happened with Toni with the NFL, that degree ended up saving him."
Richardson will enter his sophomore year at Marshall, but his redshirt freshman season on the football field in 2020 as a Herd tight end. He is majoring in political science but plans to switch to criminal justice in the fall.