*Sheldon Richardson   DT        Missouri   Very good athlete with long arms, exceptional initial get-off and is very disruptive from both two- and three-point stance. Richardson has explosive first-step quickness and excellent one-gap penetration with strong hands, leverage and relentless motor that runs fast for four quarters, as seen in his chase and pursuit; hunts like a linebacker. Will need to further develop consistent UOH (use of hands) combat technique; plays with shoulders too often, but flashed dominant bull rush, arm over, pull/jerk, tilt/go and double arm bar to create separation with hit-and-spin shed. Is competitive, tough and aggressive to fight through double teams, with second effort applying pressure on pocket; commands respect as an interior defensive linemen and, when blocked one-on-one, he is destructive. DNA (film) shows exceptional speed and freakish skill set, as well as movement outside the box and the second effort to advance to second and third levels. Good feet to step and control, plus body balance to run around, over or through trash. An explosive collision tackler with wrap, who also takes the right angle and exhibits drag-down tackling skills outside the box; diving production. Good FBI and reaction quickness, but occasionally gets caught with slow eyes when reading blocking schemes on the move and is chopped. His initial quickness works against him at times, allowing blockers to run him up field and out of the play vs. both pass and run blocking; pad level rises and leverage suffers, resulting in Richardson being walled in and walked out of hole. Despite having weighed 315 pounds in the past, Richardson’s athletic ability at between 295 and 305 pounds will make him a scheme fit for several teams as a classic 3-tech and a three-down player. Like all rookies, he will need a good off season in the weight room to continue development and further functional (explosive) strength, which is good now and will only get better. Playmaker and difference-maker in all films viewed. Softli – First-round talent, top-15 pick.

 

SHELDON RICHARDSON

Defensive Tackle/End

University of Missouri Tigers

#34

6:02.4-294

St. Louis, Missouri

College of the Sequoias

Gateway Technical High School

 

OVERVIEW

When Richardson announced that he was leaving school and entering the NFL Draft, you could hear the cheers from Southeastern Conference offensive linemen. One season of having the Tigers defensive tackle terrorizing opponents in Missouri’s first season in the league was enough, as far as they were concerned.

 

The junior produced 79 tackles in 2012, with an amazing thirty stops coming on third- or fourth-down snaps. The ultimate “drive killer” also managed to cause three fumbles among his four sacks, recovering two to set up Mizzou scoring drives. He also blocked a kick to kill another possession and four of his seven quarterback pressures caused interceptions. He also had a hand in stopping ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage for losses on thirteen other snaps.

 

Those Southeastern offensive linemen should have done their “homework” before the 2012 season. Many of their counterparts in the Big Twelve Conference could have told them how difficult it was to try and contain the Tiger with a “full tank of gas” relentlessly attacking their backfields during his first season playing major college football, where he delivered eleven of his 37 tackles for losses and made twenty of his hits on the final play of potential scoring drives.

 

The defensive tackle has solid muscle tone in his lower body, with wide hips, broad shoulders and good arm muscle tone. He has room on his frame that can carry at least another fifteen pounds of additional bulk without having it affect his balance or quickness.

 

Richardson is surprisingly nimble and quick for a player his size. He has good straight-line speed and explosion off the snap and does a solid job of keeping his hands inside his frame to lock on and control the blockers. He has the lower leg drive to split double teams and the short area burst to close on the pocket.

 

When he hits the gaps with his pad level down, Richardson excels at slipping off blocks to plug the rush lanes. He shows good balance on the move and it is rare to see him go to the ground, as he uses his hands effectively to combat multiple blockers. In the short area, he has the burst to close and he also displays the timed speed to generate long pursuit.

 

His change of direction and flexibility are fluid and he consistently gains leverage (4.35 20-yard shuttle on campus). He shifts his weight well when in pursuit and shows the agility to easily redirect when he out-runs the play. Even Richardson is the first to admit that perhaps his greatest asset is his field instincts, as few anticipate the plays and react with such urgency as he’s displayed.

 

The down lineman does a good job flowing to the ball along the line. He is the type who will not be fooled much by play action and fakes. Richardson has above average strength to lock up and enough quickness to combine with his power to make explosive tackles. He hits the gaps with force and clogs the rush lanes with his ability to drive back the lead blocker consistently. When he attacks a ball carrier, he punishes them, evident by his minus 21 yards allowed on 68 running plays.

 

 

Richardson is more of a pocket pressure type than a pass rusher, as he plays in a system that relies on him providing containment, rather than generate pressure. He has more than enough burst to surprise as a pass rusher, as he shows the ability and the quick initial step to get advantage and also get on the edge of a blocker.

 

The Saint Louis native has very effective swim-&-rip ability and good suddenness off the ball and he is more of a power-oriented type than one who would finesse. It is his strength and urgency in his play that allows him to gain penetration, but he also possesses the hip flexibility and lateral movement in his backside pursuit that could see him be given more opportunities to rush the passer in the professional ranks.

 

At Gateway Tech High School, Richardson was considered the best defensive tackle, and fourth-best player overall in the nation by Rivals.com. As a senior, he was a first-team All-American selection by EA Sports after he recorded 88 tackles and 19 sacks, while adding seven fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and one interception in 2008.

 

That season, he scored six defensive touchdowns on the year, as well. He also added 27 receptions for 541 yards and eight touchdowns at the tight end position. An outstanding overall athlete, he also lettered in basketball and baseball, as well as participating in track as a weight man.

 

Following the conclusion of his prep career, he played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas. He made big impressions with his play in practice and the game, where he had a sack, and added a quarterback pressure, along with a tackle for loss as a defensive tackle.

 

Richardson originally signed with the Missouri Tigers as the crown jewel of their 2009 recruiting class. Rated by recruiting experts as the top defensive tackle prospect and a top five overall talent, he was unable to fulfill the academic obligations and was instead forced to take the junior college route at the College of the Sequoias. While there, his legend continued and he briefly verbally committed to Southern California before electing to stick with his original plan and return to Missouri, his home state.

 

Richardson earned All-American, All-Valley Conference and All-California Community College Football Conference honors for Sequoias in 2009, as he registered 65 tackles (40 solos). Seventeen of those stops resulted in losses, as he also blocked a kick, registered fifteen pressures and caused five interceptions. Primed for a 2010 banner campaign, it ended even before it began due to a wrist injury.

 

Back in his home state of Missouri, Richardson almost did not get on the football field. After enrolling at Missouri in December of 2010, he missed spring practice and part of summer camp in 2011 while dealing with the NCAA on some eligibility issues. The governing board informed him that before he could suit up for the Tigers, he needed to finish course work in August before the NCAA deemed he was eligible to play.

 

Characterized by the Tigers’ defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski as “the most hyped player ever to play at Missouri,” Richardson didn’t get a starting position handed to him. He entered 2011 fall camp last on the depth chart and had to work his way up, quickly proving to be a standout as part of the rotation but only starting two games as the Tigers returned starters Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno.

 

Despite his limited opportunities, Richardson developed into the Tigers’ most disruptive interior defender last season, earning honorable mention All-Big Twelve Conference honors with 37 tackles, eight stops behind the line of scrimmage and two sacks.

Richardson made his much anticipated Tigers’ debut a quiet one, recording just an assisted tackle in the 2011 season opener vs. Miami (Oh.). It took him the early part of the season to get acclimated to the defensive system, but he came on strong the second half, helping the team rank 29th in the nation in run defense (127.38 ypg). After the season, it was revealed that the red-shirt sophomore had played with a shoulder injury that would require surgery.

 

Because of an extended recovery period, Richardson again sat out Missouri spring drills in 2012. By the time he reported back for August camp and after undergoing a grueling summer conditioning session at Mizzou, he was primed for his first full set of two-a-days.

Conditioning, training, all the other stuff goes into making a football player good hadn’t had a chance to happen for the junior until then.

 

“Now he’s had an entire summer,” coach Gary Pinkel said at the start of 2012 fall drills,  “which helps you develop discipline, it helps you to become tougher and to learn about what we do and the attention to detail it takes. It helps develop players. So it’s a testament to Richardson’s God-given talent that he has done as well as he has in his brief time at Mizzou.”

 

And it’s a reason why the Tigers had such optimism in how he would do during the season now that he’d gotten a chance to put in offseason work. “It’s good to be back out here,” Richardson said, “to get things going, to get back in the rhythm of things where I left off in December. Getting back into it.”

 

“If you look at Sheldon Richardson today from this same time last year,” said defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, “it’s almost night and day. And last year he looked good, trust me. He looked real good. You’re seeing a much improved guy, a more mature player, a more mature competitor. He’s playing with more discipline and he’s got a great attitude.”

 

Quick, powerful and eager to prove that he’s worthy of the lofty rankings, Richardson entered the 2012 season rated as Missouri’s top overall NFL prospect. He went on to start eleven games at weak-side defensive tackle, ranking second on the team with 79 tackles, tied for second with four sacks and tied for the squad lead with 10.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused three fumbles, recovered two others, broke up three passes and blocked a kick.

 

But, the season did not conclude without some drama. Prior to the eleventh game on the Tigers’ schedule, the coaching staff announced that Richardson would not be in uniform for the home finale vs. Syracuse. Several media outlets reported earlier in the week that the junior had been suspended for academic reasons.

 

The school did not make any announcement, citing that he was suspended for a violation of team rules. Richardson had drawn the ire of his head coach prior to the Georgia contest on September 8th, after his now-famous comment about Georgia playing “old-man foot-ball.”

 

He was not allowed to talk to reporters for several weeks after that incident. The player’s absence from the Syracuse contest was notable, as the Tigers needed a win to become bowl eligible. They lost to the Orange and then fell to Texas A&M in the season finale to finish with a 5-7 record in their first season playing in the Southeastern Conference.

 

Richardson returned for the Texas A&M clash, but shortly after, he announced that he was leaving school and had applied for early entry to the 2013 NFL Draft. “I really appreciate all of the support I got here at Mizzou,” he said, “and I know that they will help me and my family with this next step. I’ll always be a Tiger. This has been my dream ever since I was a little kid. It’s still not easy leaving Mizzou like this, but I know I’m ready.”

 

The decision marked the end of a fifteen-month Mizzou football career. Head coach Gary Pinkel had to wait twice as long to see Richardson in a Missouri uniform after he signed in February 2009. The St. Louis native finally had the kind of season that was envisioned, as his 75 tackles were a figure that led all defensive tackles in the Southeastern Conference.

And he did it all while routinely being double-teamed, eventually becoming the player SEC opponents most had to worry about while planning to face the Tigers.

 

“I’ve always said that when guys have opportunities like these, if they’re ready to go then they should go,” Pinkel said in the statement. “I have no doubt that Sheldon is ready to play in the NFL, and while we’d love to have him for another year, the important thing is that this is the right decision.”

 

CAREER NOTES

In two seasons at Missouri, Richardson started 13-of-24 games, recording 116 tackles (59 solos) with six sacks, 18.5 stops for losses of 81 yards and nine pressures…Also caused four fumbles and recovered two others, advancing one 60 yards…Had a blocked kick and four pass deflections as a Tiger…During his entire collegiate career, he played in 34 contests, collecting 181 tackles (9 solos) that included 8.5 sacks for minus 71 yards, 35.5 stops for losses of 179 yards and 24 pressures, as he also gained 78 yards on three fumble recoveries and blocked two kicks.

 

2012 SEASON

Richardson started all eleven games he played in, as the weak-side defensive tackle earned All-American Dream Team and All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report…Sat out the Syracuse clash (team rules violation) and missed spring drills recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, but he finished second overall on the team and led the SEC’s defensive tackles with a career-best 79 tackles (44 solos)…

Tied for second on the squad with four sacks for minus 26 yards and tied for the Tigers lead with 10.5 stops for losses totaling 50 yards…Credited with seven quarterback pressures and blocked a kick while deflecting three passes…Caused three fumbles and recovered two others, returning one 60 yards vs. Kentucky…Part of a front wall that saw opposing ball carriers average 149.25 yards per game vs. the Tigers…Recorded three tackles vs. Southeastern Louisiana while also adding a pass break-up and a quarterback pressure…Added five tackles vs. Georgia, including one for loss, and added a QB hurry… Posted a big game vs. Arizona State with nine tackles – 1.5 for loss – and half a sack with a QB hurry…Had another gem of a performance vs. South Carolina, recording seven tackles (three solo), assisting on a sack, forcing a fumble and getting a QB hurry…Continued his monster season at Central Florida, picking up his second sack of the year and two tackles for loss, as he also forced a fumble and had two QB hurries while posting nine tackles on the game…Followed with five tackles (one solo, four assists) including a nine-yard sack and 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage…Posted a career-best fourteen tackles (eight solo, six assists) to lead the team vs. Alabama while also collecting a half sack of four yards…Named SEC Defensive Player of the Week following his dominant performance vs. Kentucky in which he had five tackles (three solo, two assists) a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in which he nearly scored before being rundown after 60 yards. The play came after UK moved the ball deep into Mizzou territory on its opening drive, but he stripped the ball and recovered it and returned it for 60 yards in a momentum-changing play in the first quarter…Credited with six tackles (two solo, four assists) with 1.5 stops for loss and a forced fumble in the Tigers’ 14-7 loss at Florida…Continued his fine play with seven tackles (three solo, four assists) with a half tackle for loss and a pass break-up in the Tigers’ 51-48, four-overtime win at Tennessee.

2011 SEASON

Richardson made his much-anticipated debut with the Tigers, and provided needed depth in the trenches as he amassed 37 tackles (15 solos) that included two sacks and eight stops for losses of 31 yards (fifth on the team), as he started twice and appeared in all thirteen games, despite a nagging shoulder injury that would require surgery after the season…Had a pair of pressures, a forced fumble and a pass deflection for a unit that ranked 29th in the nation and third in the Big Twelve conference in run defense (127.38 ypg)…Had a tackle for loss in overtime vs. Arizona State…Finished the Western Illinois game with two assisted tackles, both coming for a loss, as he teamed up with Brayden Burnett to record his first sack as a Tiger early in the first quarter…Assisted on three tackles vs. Oklahoma and delivered three tackles at Kansas State while also batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage…In the Iowa State game, the sophomore was in on four tackles, 1.5 of which were for loss…Made his first career start vs. Oklahoma State and finished with one tackle for a two-yard loss…In the Texas A&M game, he was credited with eight tackles, including an assisted stop-for-loss…Was a force in the backfield all game long vs. Baylor, finishing with five tackles including 1.5 for loss, a half a sack and a QB hurry…Closed out the year by making two stops and a half-sack vs. North Carolina in the Independence Bowl.

 

JUNIOR COLLEGE

One of the most highly-coveted athletes to come out of the state of Missouri in recent years, Richardson would returned to his home state after a two-year stop at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif, where he played one season for head coach Curtis Allen…

Was ranked by Rivals.com as the third-best junior college prospect in the nation at any position, even after he was redshirted in 2010 due to a wrist injury…Was a dominant defensive lineman as a freshman in 2009, earning All-Valley Conference and All-American recognition after recording 65 tackles (40 solos) with 2.5 sacks, seventeen stops for losses of 98 yards and fifteen pressures in ten games…Had an 18-yard return with a fumble recovery, two pass deflections and a blocked kick.

 

INJURY REPORT

2010 Season…Richardson was granted a medical red-shirt after missing the season with a wrist tendon injury.

2011 Season…Played the second half of the season with a nagging shoulder injury that would require off-season surgery, preventing him from competing during 2012 spring camp.

 

AGILITY TESTS

5.02 in the 40-yard dash (Combine)…4.82 40-yard dash (2013 Missouri Pro Day)…1.68 10-yard dash…2.71 20-yard dash…4.59 20-yard shuttle…7.33 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…9’8” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times…34 ½-inch arm length…

10 ½-inch hands…79 ¾-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Richardson attended Gateway Technical (St Louis, Mo.) High School, playing football for head coach Melvin Walls…Considered the best defensive tackle, and fourth-best player overall in the nation by Rivals.com…As a senior, he was a first-team All-American choice by EA Sports after he recorded 88 tackles and 19 sacks, while adding seven fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and one interception in 2008…That season, he scored six defensive touchdowns on the year, as well…Also added 27 receptions for 541 yards and eight touchdowns at the tight end position…An outstanding overall athlete, he also lettered in basketball and baseball, as well as participating in track as a weight man…

Following the conclusion of his prep career, he played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas. He made big impressions with his play in practice and the game, where he had a sack, and added a quarterback pressure, along with a tackle for loss as a defensive tackle.

 

PERSONAL

Real Estate Business major…Son of Zelda and Michael Richardson…Resides in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2009 10 10   65  40  25  01  00  0-0  17.0-98   02   2.5-29    15
2011 13 02   37  15  22  00  01  0-0  08.0-31   01   2.0-16    02
2012 11 11   79  44  35  02  03  0-0  10.5-50   03   4.0-26    07
TOTAL 24 13 116  59  57  02  04  0-0  18.5-81   04   6.0-42    09
Above statistics are for Missouri career
TOTAL 34 23 181  99  82  03  04  0-0  35.5-179   06   8.5-71    24
Above statistics are for complete college career

 

ADVANCED FUMBLE RECOVERIES
STATS NO YARDS AVG TD LONG
2009  01        18 18.00  00    18
2012  01        60 60.00  00    60
TOTAL  02        78 39.00  00    60

ADDITIONAL STATISTICS…Blocked two kicks; one in 2009 and another vs. Florida in 2012.

 

RICHARDSON GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Fum. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Southeastern La. 09/01/12 SE La. 62-10

Yes

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Georgia 09/08/12 Georgia 20-41

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Arizona St. 09/15/12 Arizona St. 24-20

Yes

0

0

0

3

6

1

1

3

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

South Carolina 09/22/12 at South Carolina 10-31

Yes

0

0

0

4

3

1

0

1

1

0

1

0

1

1

0

UCF 09/29/12 at UCF 21-16

Yes

0

0

0

3

6

0

2

15

0

1

8

0

0

2

0

Vanderbilt 10/06/12 Vanderbilt 15-19

Yes

0

0

0

4

1

1

1

10

0

1

9

0

0

1

0

Alabama 10/13/12 Alabama 10-42

Yes

0

0

0

5

9

0

1

8

0

1

8

0

0

0

0

Kentucky 10/27/12 Kentucky 33-10

Yes

1

60

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Florida 11/03/12 at Florida 7-14

Yes

0

0

0

4

2

1

1

8

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Tennessee 11/10/12 at Tennessee 51-48

Yes

0

0

0

4

3

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Syracuse 11/17/12 Syracuse 27-31

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 11/24/12 at Texas A&M 29-59

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

0

1

3

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

60

0

36

39

5

8

50

2

3

26

3

3

7

1

 

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Miami (OH) 09/03/11 Miami (OH) 17-6

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Arizona St. 09/09/11 at Arizona St. 30-37

Yes

0

1

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Western Ill. 09/17/11 Western Ill. 69-0

Yes

2

0

2

0

4

1

0

3

0

0

0

0

Oklahoma 09/24/11 at Oklahoma 28-38

Yes

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kansas St. 10/08/11 at Kansas St. 17-24

Yes

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Iowa St. 10/15/11 Iowa St. 52-17

Yes

3

1

1

1

5

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Oklahoma St. 10/22/11 Oklahoma St. 24-45

Yes

0

1

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 10/29/11 at Texas A&M 38-31

Yes

7

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Baylor 11/05/11 at Baylor 39-42

Yes

0

6

0

2

15

0

1

11

0

1

1

0

Texas 11/12/11 Texas 17-5

Yes

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas Tech 11/19/11 Texas Tech 31-27

Yes

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kansas 11/26/11 Kansas 24-10

Yes

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

North Carolina 12/26/11 North Carolina 41-24

Yes

1

1

1

0

2

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

22

15

6

5

31

2

1

16

1

1

2

0

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of the NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com & Tony Softli Draft Board; Distributed by Scouting Services, Inc. © Copyright 2012/13 – All Rights Reserved; Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Scouting Services Inc. is strictly prohibited.