MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Donning a West Virginia T-shirt, University High School senior Amir Richardson made his college choice by announcing, “I’m staying home, baby.”
At a Sunday night ceremony in the school’s auditorium, the Rivals three-star recruit picked the Mountaineers over Pitt, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, Army, Temple and Marshall. A 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, Richardson became WVU’s 12th overall pledge for 2019 and the fourth of the weekend.
The drama of Richardson’s reveal was drained a few minutes before the assembly when Capital quarterback Kerry Martin — a WVU commit from the previous day — tweeted: “Mountaineer nation, we got us another one.”
Richardson didn’t mind being pre-empted: “I told Kerry in advance and I knew he’d be excited.”
Martin and Dewayne Grantham of Martinsburg High give WVU three in-state commits this cycle.
“They’re great ballplayers great dudes, and I’m glad to get that 2019 class together,” Richardson said.
Richardson hugged his father, Tony Sr., who played two years at defensive tackle for the Mountaineers in the early ’90s. Before deciding to carry on the family legacy, Richardson gave serious evaluation to outside programs, including Penn State, where former WVU assistant Ja’Juan Seider encouraged him to postpone committing to await an offer.
“I started to feel Pittsburgh, going to their camps, and I loved Penn State,” Richardson said. “But my heart always was where home is. When you grow up in West Virginia, of course you want to go there.
“Now I can play Power 5 football and still see my mother and my family every weekend. That was huge.”
University High football coach John Kelley called Richardson the most heavily recruited prospect he has mentored.
“We’ve had 16 or 17 kids who have been offered to go Division I, but we’ve never had a kid who had this many offers — basically from the West Coast to the tip of Florida,” he said.
Projected as a downhill safety or an outside linebacker in college, Richardson sounds excited about his future role in Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 stack. For this fall, however, he’ll be targeted as one of the state’s top receivers at UHS.
“I’ve got to be defensive-minded,” he said. “With that ‘Dawgs’ defense, I’ve got to be ready to play for Coach Gibson. Instead of just being a receiver and catching touchdowns, I’ve got to worry about coming up and laying the wood.
“Because when I get to West Virginia, I’m not coming to sit the bench — I’m coming to play.”