Richardson makes transition to defense

Three years ago, Devvin Richardson was at the University of Colorado waiting his turn to one day play as Colorado’s starting running back. Today, Richardson is one of the most talented members of FAMU’s young secondary.

“Devvin has played far and beyond what we thought he would,” Head Coach Billy Joe said. “This is his first year on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage and he is doing a fine job. He is very physical and a real smart individual so it is very hard to beat him.”

As an All-West Coast football player in high school, Richardson was offered scholarship opportunities to play football for numerous schools in the West, including Colorado, University of Oregon and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“At the time I was being recruited, I knew of FAMU but I was more interested in Division I-A programs,” Richardson said.

Richardson decided to attend the University of Colorado on a full athletic scholarship, a decision he made because of the proximity of his family and the opportunity to play as a freshman.

“I had the opportunity to play right away, and that is why I chose the school. Some of my father’s family also lived close by in Denver,” Richardson said. After red-shirting his freshman year, Richardson decided to transfer because he didn’t like the direction his career was heading in. Transferring to another Division I-A school meant Richardson would have to sit out a year, so he looked into the possibility of playing Division I-AA football.

“I didn’t have to sit out a year if I came to a Division I-AA school and that played a part in my decision to attend FAMU” Richardson said. “I also thought Coach (Billy) Joe was an outstanding coach.”

When Joe heard the news Richardson was interested in transferring to FAMU, he was ecstatic.

“I was excited that we were getting a Division I-A product because usually when that happens, it means you are getting a quality football player,” Billy Joe said. “The Division I-A (schools) only recruit excellent football players, and when I heard that he was interested in transferring, I was excited that we were going to get a solid athlete from a Division I-A program.”

Richardson joined the team a few months later but suffered a devastating neck injury in a summer practice, which ended his first season as a Rattler player before it began.

“What was amazing about that injury was that if it had been a few millimeters to the right or left, I could be paralyzed, or it could have even been fatal,” Richardson said.

After a long rehabilitation process, Richardson enjoyed his most successful season of his college career in 2002. That year, he rushed for over 350 yards and four touchdowns.

Last season, Richardson played a small part in FAMU’s running attack, primarily due to the Rattlers pass orientated offense. This fall, however, with the departure of Julian Worley and the early academic troubles of Edward Kwaku, the Rattler secondary was in need of some serious help.

“I played corner(back) in high school, and I thought I could move over to defense and make a difference,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s teammates in FAMU’s secondary are also impressed with his play so far in the Rattlers’ first three games.

“Richardson is a physical corner, who has speed, and he can hit; bringing those attributes to the secondary is always an upbeat,” cornerback LeJuan Walker said.

Richardson will have to use his gifted athletic abilities as the Rattlers have one more Division I-A team to face, and a tough schedule in the months ahead.

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