Frankie Richardson is drawing the attention of college football coaches from around the east coast, which is no surprise given his considerable talent as an offensive and defensive lineman.
It also makes sense that recruiters are noticing the Gettysburg High School junior, who at 6-foot-5 and nearly 300 pounds, is difficult to miss.
Earlier this week Richardson received some welcomed news as he was informed that Coastal Carolina University was offering a full scholarship to play football. Coastal, located in Conway, SC, was one of the best teams in the country last season as the Chanticleers finished at 11-1 with a No. 14 ranking in the final AP Top 25 poll.
“Two nights ago I was on a call with the o-line coach when they offered me,” said Richardson, when reached by telephone on Thursday evening. “I was definitely shocked and excited. I felt appreciated for them to take a chance on me. That’s a big school and it’s definitely exciting getting one from a bigger school.”
Prior to the call from Coastal, the University of Massachusetts extended a scholarship offer, hoping to land the services of the versatile Richardson, who is still in the early stages of his development as a football player. Relatively new to the sport after not playing until the eighth grade, he has quickly ascended to being one of the premier scholastic linemen in Pennsylvania.
Gettysburg head coach Matt Heiser said Richardson’s late entry to football hasn’t been detrimental in any way thanks to the young man’s work ethic.
“He’s a hard-working kid in the classroom and on the field, and he shows a lot of discipline,” said Heiser. “He stands out on film, and the credit goes to Frankie for his hard work. He’ really coachable, so when applying techniques he catches on really quickly. He’s not vocal but he displays leadership when he models what you want to see happen on the field.”
Richardson was a two-way YAIAA-2 first-team selection on the offensive and defensive lines last season, which consisted of only six games because of the pandemic. The limited amount of game film wasn’t helpful in terms of getting more exposure, but Richardson and his family have been busy through a recruiting process that is likely just heating up.
“It’s definitely a lot more work than I imagined, reaching out to coaches,” he said. “But I’m still early in the process, only being a junior, so a lot of good things can happen. It’s promising and exciting.”
The offer from UMass caught Richardson by surprise because of how swiftly it came after initial contact.
“It shocked me because I’d only been talking to them for one week,” he said. “But I appreciate that first chance.”
Richardson said his list of current suitors includes Lehigh, Lafayette, Temple, Villanova, Harvard, Columbia, Penn, Stony Brook, Kent State and Millersville. Most schools are interested in his talents as an offensive tackle, but he isn’t locked into a specific position.
“I’m just a football player, you can put me anywhere and I’ll play,” he said.
Being on the radar of a host of Ivy League schools speaks to Richardson’s commitment to academics.
“Academics is always No. 1, that’s how you get the big bucks,” he said. “I’d like to go to a school that I can call a second home that has good academics and a good football program. A school that really cares about you.”
Richardson said marine biology is a potential major because of his love of the ocean.
With most schools not permitting campus visits, most of his recruiting process has been virtual. He hopes to eventually take on-site tours prior to next season. For now, the goal is to continue working out, adding strength to an already impressive resume.
Richardson has been invited to participate in a combine for college prospects that will be held in late March in New Jersey. He hopes to showcase the skills and strength – including a 295-pound bench press and 370-pound squat – that have Division I schools calling.
“I just want to stay in touch and keep getting my name out there,” he said.
Richardson’s scholarship offers come as a pair of outgoing seniors, Ruger Pennington and Shane Brockett, have made their college choices. Pennington will play for Stevenson University in Maryland while Brockett has signed with Clarion University.
The recent signings, and Richardson’s recruitment by Division I programs, continue to make the Warrior program a pipeline to the college gridiron.
“We’ve been doing that, really since I’ve been here with guys all across the board,” said Heiser. “It’s definitely exciting to see guys go on and it’s exciting for myself to do a good job helping the kids do that.”