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Richardson aiming to top monster junior season at Jackson State

JACKSON — Former Natchez High School standout Rico Richardson made his mark on the Jackson State University football team last season.

Richardson hauled in 34 passes as the team’s leading receiver for 896 yards and 11 touchdowns for a Tigers’ offense that averaged 491 yards and 36 points a game.

“I feel like I did good last year,” Richardson said. “I accomplished a lot of the goals I wanted to accomplish, and we had fun. Everybody kind of clicked.”

This summer, Richardson is hard at work looking to build on his junior performance.

“This summer is going great,” he said. “I’m getting up every morning and getting better. It feels good (being a senior). I want to be a great leader this year. I’ve always been a leader, but I got a lot of guys looking up to me this year to make big plays and lead the team to a championship.”

Richardson said he is shooting for 1,000 yards and 50 receptions this season, but he hopes the team’s goals are met before his individual ones.

“My main goal is to win a championship,” he said. “We haven’t won it since I’ve been here, and the main goal is to win championships.”

Jackson State will have to take on the challenge of replacing record-breaking quarterback Casey Therriault this season.

Richardson said the team’s strong receiving corps will help new quarterback Dedric McDonald get comfortable this season.

“Dedric is going to be a good quarterback,” Richardson said. “He’s been here and knows the system.”

Richardson said the team’s biggest obstacle this season may be learning from new offensive coordinator Derrick McCall. McCall served as the Tigers’ quarterback coach.

“I think we will have to come together and stick together as one with the new offensive coordinator,” he said. “We have to make sure we have everything down.”

Richardson said he is ready for fall camp to begin on Aug. 1.

“I’m ready for it right now,” he said. “I’m just trying to stay in shape. I know it’s going to be hot, and we have to find a way to beat the heat.”

Richardson said he hopes his senior experience will help him lead the younger players on and off the field.

“I have to drive them in the right direction, especially the freshmen,” he said. “They do not know what to expect. They have to keep their grades right. That has to be the main focus and everything else will fall into place.”

Richardson has listened to his own advice so far at Jackson State. He currently holds a 3.0 GPA in physical/health education and is planning to graduate next year.

Richardson said he hopes a great senior season will draw the eyes of some scouts as well.

“Hopefully I’ll have a great season and if everything works out, I’ll be picked up by an NFL team and make the team.”

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