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Texas A&M's Demani Richardson Returns For One Last Ride With Aggies

Demani Richardson wanted to return to Texas A&M to handle his unfinished business

COLLEGE STATION -- Demani Richardson weighed over his options after the season finale loss to LSU. The Texas A&M safety had two choices in terms of what comes next. 

Test your luck in the pros? Return and perhaps ruin your stock? 

Richardson said he talked to his dad. He prayed over his decision before realizing that the answer all along was starting him in the face. 

"I felt like I needed to do more on the field and produce more," Richardson said Tuesday. "I was looking back at the film and I said 'Did I do everything I needed to do that I could here?'

"That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come back." 

Demani Richardson

Richardson now becomes the leader for A&M in 2022. He'll have to be for the younger names as the defense transitions to a new look. 

The Aggies lost longtime defensive coordinator Mike Elko to Duke this offseason. For his replacement, A&M swiped D.J. Durkin from Ole Miss to take over. Last season, Durkin's defense in Oxford held the Aggies to 378 yards in a 29-19 loss, thus eliminating any chance for the Aggies to compete for an SEC West title. 

Richardson can see some similarities between Durkin and Elko, stating how both are perfectionists when it comes to play design. Durkin also has implemented a six-man defensive back package, thus allowing positionless players such as Antonio Johnson to be in the right look to play free. 

Much like Elko, Durkin is big on tackling. If a player can't make the hit, they won't be seeing the field often. It's a good thing Richardson loves to lay the hammer. 

"I feel like I could playback in the old school days," Richardson joked. "Many people nowadays feel like our generation is soft, but I feel like I could playback in y'all's time."


Richardson is expected to remain the starter at strong safety. The other potential five defensive back roles are up for grabs. Johnson is expected to see reps at both safety positions and in the nickel. 

A&M also must find a way to play veteran corners such as Brian George and Myles Jones while also giving reps to Tyreek Chappell and Deuce Harmon. 

Jones was limited to one games last season while George only played in four due to season-ending injuries. This gave an opportunity for both Chappell and Harmon the expand their rep count. Chappell became one of the more consistent defensive backs in the SEC toward the season's end, earning All-SEC freshman honors for his efforts. 

"You have guys that you've seen what they do in front of 100,000 people," A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said of the defensive back room. "They do it out here in practice but to have game experience, play with the lights and when the number of the scoreboard means gives you a good advantage." 

Having a veteran presence for a new formation could be an advantage for Texas A&M defensively. Richardson believes that with time, the Aggies should be able to pick things and return to a similar style of play with Durkin calling the shots instead of Elko. 

With one more season under his belt, Richardson hopes that last fall was a fluke. An 8-4 record won't cut it after the Aggies took home the title of the No. 1 recruiting class. It's why he's holding himself to a different. 


One not even Durkin or Fisher is holding him to. 

"With not having other people like Leon [O'Neal] or Micheal Clemons, people we counted on as leaders, I have to be more of a vocal leader this year," Richardson said. "I have to step up and talk more that I have in other springs." 

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