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Mark-Antony Richards/Twitter
4-star ATH Mark-Antony Richards wants to be strictly a RB in college.

Georgia football: Bulldogs want Mark-Antony Richards to be a ‘Freak’ in Athens

Georgia is now in the recruiting game for Mark-Antony Richards. Most definitely.

Huh? Why? How-in-the-world-did-we-get-here? These plots are still supposed to twist like Netflix binges. It is just that the number of those in January has now been cut down by the early signing period.

The Bulldogs are now in a much different place with Richards than they were a month ago.

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Mark-Antony Richards rates as the nation’s No. 99 overall prospect for the class of 2019 on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Photo via Mark-Antony Richards Twitter)

It seemed like just two weeks ago the nation’s No. 4 ATH out of South Florida was trending Auburn or Florida or Miami.

But his fourth official to UGA has changed that.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior was waiting in an airport on Sunday night.

He was wondering how he was going to feel about the Bulldogs and his time in Athens once the routine “visit high” wears off.

Those thoughts included what both running backs coach Dell McGee and coach Kirby Smart told him this weekend.

Richards now wonders why he didn’t include UGA in one of his late top 5 releases.

He’s fully aware of what the program has done developing elite RBs of late. It now comes down to a pretty simple question.

Why not Georgia?

When his friends and family ask about this trip, he said those will be the first words out of his mouth about his latest official.  He even tweets about it.

Why not Georgia?

“Why it wouldn’t be Georgia?” Richards said. “That’s kind of hard. Ah, I guess. I don’t really know.”

Why Georgia?

“They produce running backs honestly every year,” Richards said. “They always have a ‘Thunder’ and they always have a ‘Lightning’ and that’s kind of what they say. Then they have one of the best O-lines in the country so why not Georgia and also coach [Kirby] Smart is doing great things with that program.”

Where things got real with UGA and Mark-Antony Richards

There is a position fit to consider here. Was Richards an athlete for the Bulldogs? At WR? DB? RB?

Richards made it clear with Georgia. The Bulldogs then crystallized the fit for him. Kirby Smart even dropped a player parallel he could roll with.

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UGA assistant coach Scott Fountain has led the recruiting effort for Mark-Antony Richards. (Photo via Mark-Antony Richards Twitter)

It starts with a position the Bulldogs now call “The Freak” in the program.

That’s a multi-purpose role that is the back that catches the screens and runs a lot of jet sweeps for the Bulldogs.

He left Athens thinking he could play that “Freak” position pretty well.

“I feel pretty good,” Richards said coming off the official. “This was my second time up. I really like the plan they have for me.”

Which would be what exactly?

“Strictly running back,” Richards said. “They understand that I’m a running back at heart. They compare my game to Alvin Kamara. Coach Kirby Smart said that’s somebody he used to coach and recruit back when he was at ‘Bama. That’s kind of a role that I can see myself playing.”

Will the schools that recruit him strictly at RB be the only ones he will consider going forward?

“100 percent,” Richards said.

He liked several things about his official. The 4-star ATH said he enjoyed the time spent with the staff.

“They really weren’t in it at the beginning,” Richards said. “Due to like I thought they were going to recruit me as a receiver. But once coach Hankton visited and I told him I said ‘I’m a running back and that’s what I am’ from that day on forward that’s when things kind of changed.”

Richards said he has been talking to McGee for at least a month. Things have warmed up since then.

“But that was kind of on me, though,” Richards said. “I didn’t put [Georgia] in my top 5 and that’s something which I still regret to this day. But you know, they are in it now.”

Richards said he does have some thinking to do.

“Just which school I’m going to pick,” he said. “I understand each school is a great school. So really I can’t go wrong with each one but really it is going somewhere I feel comfortable. Because after each of these things [his official visits] you get this happy feeling, but it is just the point of figuring this thing out.”

He says there are four schools which are still in it. But he couldn’t specify those four.

“I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said.

Georgia is in it, though. How? Why? What did the Bulldogs do well this weekend?

“Just by keeping it real with me,” he said. “That’s about it. I even asked coach McGee over the weekend like ‘What are some things I need to work on’ and he was straight up with me.”

Richards was a bit cagey in his answer. He laughed at first when asked what McGee advised that he needs to get better at.

“Well, I will put it like this,” Richards said. “I’m going to work on it and I am going to leave it like that.”

What is left for Mark-Antony Richards now? 

Richards will still visit Miami next weekend. That is still the plan.

That is his last official. His brother, Ahmmon, was a Hurricane with a bright NFL future last season. Yet he suffered what appears to be a career-ending neck injury during the 2018 season. 

While he is in Coral Gables next weekend, he now will have to measure the “Freak” role offered to him by UGA against all his other options.

He had the chance to hang out this weekend with South Florida Bulldogs like Divaad Wilson and Tyrique Stevenson, among others.

“I was talking with those guys a lot,” Richards said. “I was with those guys a lot. You can clearly see they are happy to be where they are at. But the main thing they told me was they said ‘Georgia is a business’ and ‘There is no joking around here because they are trying to win a natty here.'”

Richards expected the official to go well. It did.

“I knew it was going to impress me going in so I was really expecting what I think now,” he said.

He chatted about “some very serious things” and “schemes” with the Bulldogs this weekend.

What kind of player could he be in Athens? There are plenty of clips floating around social media which feature Richards. He says the main thing he focuses on is being patient with the ball in his hands.

“I’m a patient and a smooth runner,” he said. “That runs smart. I don’t see myself really making a bad move on a defender.”

Richards plans to study sports broadcasting in college. He even lists ESPN personality Maria Taylor as an idol in that field. He is definitely aware that she is a UGA alum.

“Coach McGee and I talked a lot,” Richards said while summing up his weekend official. “I think that’s what really showed me you know that it is a really good and a special place to be at.”

The nation’s No. 4 ATH plans to announce his decision on National Signing Day from his school on Feb. 6.



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