February 4, 2009

In the end, Richardson remains loyal

ST. LOUIS--For 20 months, he kept everybody guessing. Down to the very last second, there were those assembled in the Gateway Tech High School gymnasium who thought >Sheldon Richardson was going to pull a last-second switch and sign with the University of Miami.

"They can stop pulling hairs out of their heads," Richardson said. "I'd like to say I will be attending the University of Missouri."

Richardson was speaking specifically of Missouri coaches Gary Pinkel and Cornell Ford. But he could have been talking about an entire fanbase. The 290-pounder committed to Mizzou back in June of 2007, before he started his junior season. Over the next year-and-a-half, Richardson went through a meteoric rise, all the way to the fourth spot in the Class of 2009's national rankings. He was the most highly-regarded player from the Show-Me State at least since Tony VanZant was considered perhaps the top prep player in the nation in the mid-1980's.

Richardson wavered. He waffled. He kept everyone in the dark until Wednesday morning. He said he finally made the decision on Tuesday night and had "the best night of sleep I've probably had since I was a freshman or a sophomore." But for all the uncertainty, Richardson never left. And, in the end, at a little after 8 o'clock, he faxed his Letter of Intent to Columbia.

Richardson said he's going to Missouri as "a football player." His dad mentioned playing both ways as a possibility.

All that mattered on this day for Missouri fans was that wherever Sheldon plays, he'll do it in black and gold instead of orange and green.

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