Sunday morning Purdue's recruiting class for 2011 grew by one more as we managed to grab some more Florida speed. Defensive back Taylor Richards of Lake Mary, FL announced his intention to come to Purdue, choosing the Boilers over Kansas, Mississippi, and Central Florida. Florida State was also showing interest.
This is a very interesting type of commitment. Richards comes in as a defensive back, something that is of great need this year, but will likely have four returning starters at this time next year. It also remains to be seen who those starters are and how long they will be here. Because of that, Richards knows that unless he switches positions, he will have to battle for a starting job in his first few years on campus.
Richards (#21) chose not to go to school with his best friend. Maybe his friend will change his mind? (Photo by Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel / March 29, 2010)
Rivals has yet to rate him, while Scout has him as a two-star prospect. He apparently plays some offense as a running back, where he ran for 346 yards and two touchdowns during his junior season. The Orlando Sentinel also reports that he is a kick returner, which is an area where he could play immediately. It has been awhile since we have had a solid kick and punt returner in the same player. Dorien Bryant excelled on kickoffs. Anthony Chambers was great on punts. Vinny Sutherland was dangerous as well.
We got him despite that Central Florida is in his hometown and one of his very good friends committed to Kansas. Last season he helped Lake Mary high to a 6-4 record, but they did not qualify for the state playoffs. Strangely his team played only one true home game the entire year. In addition to his rushing stats he had four interceptions and excelled at kickoff returns.
From the sounds of things we can thank the Big Ten Network for his commitment. It recently became available in Orlando, allowing his family and friends to see him play down there. Once he gets to Purdue his versatility will be very handy. He can play a variety of positions, something that always helps a guy get to the field faster. He stated that coach Hope even told him he was our #1 target overall. Personally, I welcome him. We can always use guys like this.