August 28, 2008

Richards ready to get going

Though some high profile recruits spend a ton of time thinking about what's best for their individual recruitment, that's not the case with Jackson Richards.

In the eyes of the recruiting world, the junior defensive end is a star, but in Richards' eyes, he's just another cog in the machine that is Southlake Carroll football.

"Man, I can't even begin to explain how ready I am for the season to start," said Richards. "We have a game this Saturday, and we've just been working hard as a unit to get ready for the season we want to have. We've had some good practices, and we're all ready to go."

It's readily evident when talking to the probable four-star recruit that he's much more comfortable talking about his team than he is himself. When asked if he was being counted on to make a sizeable contribution this year, he parried, talking instead about his comrades instead.

"Well, I think the defense as a whole is just ready to make a pretty big contribution," he explained. "We just want to shut everyone we play down completely and make our offense's job easier. We know they'll get the credit from people on the outside, but hey, that's what we do. It's not always pretty, but we're a team and that's what we do."

When asked about the team's talent level, Richards prefers to talk about the bonds he and his teammates have forged with one another.

"My class and the class above me are a lot closer than classes have been in previous years I think," he said. "And that's saying something. Our team camaraderie is better this year than it's ever been. We all feel like we can communicate with each other and speak our minds whenever we need to. Last year, I think it felt a little bit more like the seniors' team, but this year, I think we feel like this is everyone's team."

When asked about Saturday's game against Plano West and the hype that will almost certainly surround the fact that the state's two best Jacksons, Richards and Plano West star Jackson Jeffcoat, Richards again prefers to talk about his teammates.

"Oh, I would imagine our offensive tackles know more about him than I do," he said with a slight chuckle. "I mean, that's not what I'm focused on. I'm focused on making sure I do my job. I do know Jackson a little, we talked on the internet a few times because we know some of the same people, but after we saw this year's schedule, we just kinda quit talking. It'll be fun playing against him though, because he's a great guy and he's incredibly talented, but I'm not playing him, we're playing Plano West."

So while Richards' peers are focusing on improving their recruiting stock and filling their stat sheet, he'll be focused on making the subtle plays that don't show up in the box score. And while us recruiting pundits are busy talking about why Richards is so good, he'll be busy working on ways to make himself a better player and a better teammate. And you can bet he'd much rather talk about becoming a better teammate than a better player.

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