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Mark-Antony Richards/Twitter
Mark-Anthony Richards gave UGA his final in-home visit on Thursday night.

Nation’s No. 4 ATH Mark-Antony Richards gave his last in-home visit to UGA

Mark Antony-Richards still doesn’t know where he wants to go yet.

The nation’s No. 4 ATH (per the 247Sports Composite ratings) was still not sure of his college path at all after Georgia came through Thursday night for his final in-home visit.

He has had a deliberate pace to his recruiting. He will stress “Patience is key” when it comes to how he relates to his situation. Richards didn’t pile up the early offers like other top 100 prospects usually do.

Does Auburn feel good here? What about a Miami program where his brother Ahmmon Richards starred?

Penn State has always been a top school for the nation’s No. 4 athlete. Richards gave that program his first official visit. Florida coach Dan Mullen impressed the Wellington (West Palm Beach, Fla.) star with a helicopter landing at his school this week.

What about Georgia? He will still offer up the “Why Not Georgia?” line about how he feels about the Bulldogs right now.

Richards gave the Bulldogs his last in-home visit on Thursday night. Running backs coach Dell McGee was on hand. So was a friendly face in longtime recruiter Scott Fountain. Georgia coach Kirby Smart even joined in by phone.

That marked his final face-to-face meeting with any college staff. Look for him to sort things out over the next few days. The 4-star ATH expects to have his mind set by Monday or Tuesday and he will let those schools know about his choice.

He decides at 11 a.m. on National Signing Day next week. Could he make this decision today?

“I will be honest with you, I could not,” he said. “I couldn’t and I mean I would probably know, but I would say by like Sunday or Monday I will know.”

This seems like a good summary of what he will be looking at:

  • Richards said that he feels that all schools have a scholarship on the table for him. He doesn’t have to wait for another elevated target to move on to another program.
  • It is sensible for him to feel that way right now. If one of his finalists was to indicate he was a backup option at this point, it would basically eliminate itself.
  • He said a couple of times he doesn’t even know his choice right now. It may very well mean that Auburn isn’t the most likely suitor that everyone makes them out to be.
  • Richards is very easy to talk to. He aims to go into sports broadcasting one day and will name drop that media personalities Charles Barkley and Maria Taylor are alumni of a couple of his top schools.
  • As far as his academics go, he feels that the degrees offered at Florida and Penn State stand out from among his finalists.
  • Is it just a coincidence here that fellow South Florida “Freak” James Cook also offered up a similar ‘Why not Georgia?’ statement when he was on his way to UGA? 

Dell McGee’s final pitch to Mark Antony-Richards

Richards said the Georgia visit “went very very well.”

When he shared how one of Georgia’s ace recruiters left things with him on Thursday night, it was worth retelling.

Dell McGee-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
The final thoughts that Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee left with Mark-Antony Richards is a pretty good story in itself. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

How did one of Georgia’s most successful recruiters approach closing time?

It was probably worth a post in and of itself.

Did McGee give him a black belt recruiter’s closing speech? Sort of.

“Do you want me to be 100 percent honest with you about what he said?” Richards said.

He then proceeded to share a vivid recall of their last meaningful exchange in his home.

That conversation would follow along like this if it were a script.

DELL MCGEE: Mark, I want you to know this. …….

(The Georgia assistant coach pauses.)

DELL MCGEE: It doesn’t matter what school you go to. I know this is going to be a hard decision for you, but understand that you will be fine wherever you go. Where ever you go, you will be successful. 

(Another pause. Richards takes in what the Georgia running backs coach has to say. He nods.)

DELL MCGEE: You will be successful but know that God is going to steer you in the right way.

(This is the final pause. It was meant to have the desired effect.)

DELL MCGEE: So don’t overthink it. 

The two had a laugh after that.

Richards was still processing whether if it was what he said that made the biggest dent.  Or if it was the way he said it.

The only thing missing might have been a sly wink. But that is a little too Hollywood for a guy like McGee.

“It brought a lot of ease to me,” Richards said. “That’s one of the reasons why I respect coach McGee a lot.”

In his own words: Mark Antony-Richards

Looking for clues? Richards will be too savvy to leave breadcrumbs amid his quotes here. He’s been advised by his brother, Ahmmon Richards, about what to look for in these schools.

He tells him to stay patient and to pray about his choices.

Mark-Antony Richards-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
The final series of rankings now list Richards as the nation’s No. 90 overall prospect for the 2019 class on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Mark-Antony Richards/Special)

What is left for him to sort through by Wednesday?

“I mean figure out where I need to be,” Richards said. “I mean I just want to know. But on a serious note, I have just got to take my time, really seriously consider all these schools and just pray about it. That’s really all I can do.”

“Where ever I go, I know it is going to be a great decision because I know all five of my schools are great schools both athletically and academically. So I am good.”

This is a matter of where he will be the most comfortable and which school is the best fit.

He said that Florida, Georgia and Penn State have made the biggest surges in his mind of late to make this into what he describes as a five-team race.

Richards aims to cut it down to four and then two and then figure it out. He plans a morning ceremony at his school for National Signing Day on Feb. 6. That’s when the world will know, but he will give those five schools some advance notice.

“I’m going to let everybody know probably on Monday,” he said.

What he is clear about is that he does want to play right away. The 4-star prospect is also very well aware of Georgia’s reputation at the running back position.

Why Mark-Antony Richards will choose (fill in the blank)

He was able to catalog the core reasons why he would potentially choose each school.

Auburn: “With Auburn, we go way back. Back to when my brother was first getting recruited. Like I said before, I really like the offense. It is more like a tricky kind of offense. That’s something I like. I feel like I would be a great fit in that offense.”

“But also from the academic standpoint, it is kind of the same thing with [Georgia] in sports broadcasting with Charles Barkley. That is kind of what I want to do.”

Miami: “With Miami, I mean it is right down the road. That’s like the crib. My brother went there. He had a great few years there. Unfortunately, coach [Mark] Richt retired. Coach [Manny] Diaz is now the head coach. Coach Diaz and I have a really good relationship. I have a lot of respect for Diaz and his staff and his new staff members. I’m really interested in how they are going to utilize the players this year.”

Mark-Antony Richards-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Mark-Antony Richards wants to study sports broadcasting in college. (Mark-Antony Richards/Twitter)

“I’d be interested to see how they would utilize me if I went there. I know [new offensive coordinator] coach [Dan] Enos was fired up when I went down there. It was great talking to him about how he would utilize me and that was something I was really interested in.”

Florida: “Florida is kind of the same way [as Penn State] it is a very high academic school. I feel like there is an opportunity there for me to come in and contribute in multiple ways for that offense whether it is at receiver or running back or kick returner or punt returner or quarterback. You name it. I feel like that’s the best way for me to expose my abilities at the next level.”

Georgia: “I want to do sports broadcasting and I know Maria Taylor she went to Georgia. That’s kind of some of the things she is now doing. It is like if I go [to Georgia] then that is literally what I can be. Then also they produce running backs left and right. You can name it.”

“It would be awesome to be a part of that running back group. They already have a great running back group now. To me, I know that coach McGee produces a lot of running backs.”

Penn State: “I feel like it is a great opportunity for me to come in and contribute early. The academics there are without a doubt one of the best in the country. People always say that Penn State degree is something special. So I think that’s a great fit for me athletically and academically. That’s just top notch.”

A view from the Georgia recruiting helicopter

New tight ends coach Todd Hartley is an aggressive recruiter. That attitude also lends itself to a busy profile of updates across social media.

Hartley may already be as strong there as any recruiter on the staff at Georgia. We shall reserve judgment there until we see the “GIF” game that he brings to the table when a big commit pops for the Bulldogs.

But he’s at least got the helicopter correspondent part down by now.

 

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