Mark Dantonio lettered as a defensive back at South Carolina, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1979. He began his coaching career at Westside High School, also in South Carolina.
So when you find out Torian Richardson, a wide receiver prospect from Duncan, South Carolina, received his first collegiate scholarship offer from Michigan State, it's not such a surprise knowing MSU's head coach has long roots in the Palmetto State.
It did surprise Richardson, though, who had some former teammates who had been offered by MSU, but he didnâ€™t expect much attention from the green and white. "I was really excited MSU wanted to offer me and I was really happy when they were the first team to pull the trigger," Richardson told Spartan Nation.
Richardson, who measures in at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, made the trek north a couple months ago and got to visit the cozy confines of East Lansing. On his trip he talked to the coaching staff, but particularly remembers time he spent with offensive coordinator Don Treadwell. The two made their way to some film room time, when Treadwell popped in a video of former Spartan and current NFL'er Devin Thomas.
"He compared me to Devin Thomas," Richardson said. "He's a real good receiver and a really dangerous deep threat." Throughout the offseason, and hopefully into his senior year, Richardson has been working on his ability to stretch the field, and he's been building a library of clips that prove it. His speed is an important component of his game, and with a personal best 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds, the young man has a lot to brag about.
In addition to Michigan State, Richardson says he has offers and pretty consistent interest from Mississippi State, Syracuse, East Carolina and Louisville. Richardson says he plans to take official visits throughout the fall, including a trip back to MSU for the final game of the season against Penn State. With relatives in Detroit â€” an aunt and a few cousins â€” Richardson should have some time on his trip to catch up with family as well. "I want to commit on my birthday (January 6)," Richardson said, "but if I take an official and really like the school and know it's right, I'll make the decision then."
In the meantime, Richardson will continue to work on his skills and collection of highlight clips throughout his senior season, which begins this week. Overall, he calls the recruiting gauntlet a "once in a lifetime experience," and despite the time and energy it takes, he's enjoyed the process
His speed and skill are apparent to college coaches, but what is perhaps most impressive about Richardson, whose father was also a heavily recruited standout athlete in high school, is his embrace of what it means to improve his skills on the football field â€” hard work.
"I really like Coach Dantonio, he's really honest," Richardson said. "He told me that if I came up to Michigan State, I'm going to work and compete for the position. I like that."