En route to a summer prospect camp Tuesday morning at South Carolina, Milan Richard (Savannah, Ga./Calvary Day) got word from his coaches to call the University of Georgia.
After impressing at the Mark Richt Camp and Dawg Night, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound tight end was preparing for a similar effort in front of the Gamecocks coaching staff. It seems the Bulldogs coaching staff wanted to start off Richard's day with some good news.
“I called Coach [Tony] Ball this morning and he said that they were more than happy to extend an offer and that I definitely earned it after camping there three times,” Richard said. “It was a big deal getting the Georgia offer, but we were in South Carolina so once we got off the phone it was time to focus and I knew I had business to take care of in South Carolina."
Bill and Veronica Richard, Milan’s parents, ran track at the University of Georgia. Bill was a 1981 All-America selection in the 110-meter hurdles and Veronica was a 1982 All-America selection in the 100-meter dash.
Meanwhile, Veronica’s younger brother, Herschel Walker, was rewriting the history books on the gridiron. Monday’s news brought joy to the Richard household, but Milan reiterated that he has their support in forging his own path.
“The offer from Georgia is big for my family being that my parents and uncle are alumni, but it does not really change my recruiting at all,” Richard said. “I am the one that has to make the decision and my parents have told me multiple times I do not have to go to Georgia. They are fine wherever I go as long as I get an education and whatever is best for me is what I am going to do in the end.”
That is not to say that Richard does not have interest in the in-state Bulldogs.
“Obviously Georgia has great tradition with the hedges and everything like that,” Richard said. “Georgia uses their tight ends a lot and use two-tight-end sets some. Coach [John] Lilly showed me how to sink my hips while being quicker getting out of my breaks. I like Coach Lilly a lot and I have a great relationship with him.”
Monday was an altogether big day for the rising junior, as he performed well enough in front of South Carolina coaches to earn another offer, his third from the SEC and fourth overall.
“Getting the offer right after camping at South Carolina was huge,” Richard said. “It made me feel good that they got together as a coaching staff and made a quick decision. It was encouraging that they felt that way about me after seeing me in person.”
The Gamecocks are a program that has caught Richard’s attention because of their offense, and he connected well with the coaching staff during his time in Columbia.
“I know South Carolina uses their tight ends a lot and they also like big wide receivers,” Richard said. “That was a program I wanted to camp at because they might look at me some as a big receiver too depending on how my body changes over these next two years. They use their tight ends a lot too in their game plan. I know they have tradition with guys like George Rogers who won the Heisman and they put a lot of guys in the NFL. I spent a good bit of time with coach (Everette) Sands, the running backs coach that recruits our area. Coach (Lorenzo) Ward made sure to greet us as soon as we got there. Overall it was a really good day at South Carolina and for Gamecock Nation.”
As it stands, Richard says it is too early to start naming leaders.
“Every time a program that gives me an opportunity to play at their school it is a lot to take in, especially getting two offers in one day like today,” Richard said. “I love everybody that loves me right now, so South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt and NC State are all on the same playing field.
With four offers before the start of his junior season and possibly more to come, Richard plans to be thorough before making his commitment to a college.
“We are nowhere close to even talking about a decision,” Richard said. “We are looking forward to going to some games and learning more about each program, and possibly getting closer to figuring out the plan for my recruitment after the season. It is very important for me to continue to grind it out and try to improve over these next two years, but it is comforting to know I have options going into my junior year.”
One thing that the different camps have provided Richard and others is an opportunity to build a common bond among the prospects trying to wade their way through the recruiting process.
“I am close friends with Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County) and we usually talk once a week about what is going on,” Richard said. “I am really pulling for him. I am close with Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) too and we really hit it off at Dawg Night. I am also good friends with Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), Nick Glass (Atlanta/St. Pius X), Deangelo Yancey (Atlanta/Mays). Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) is a great friend that is only 30 minutes away. He can tell me all I need to know about any school, so it is great to have that back and forth with him. Being recruited helps to build a lot of friendships, but in the end, you have to pick through what everyone says about the different schools and find the best fit for you.”