Former Pahokee High star Nu'Keese Richardson leaves Hampton to enroll at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
by Jason Lieser
Former Pahokee High football standout Nu'Keese Richardson - who started his college career last year at Tennessee - has left Hampton University and now plans to play this fall at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
After Lane Kiffin kicked him off the Vols' squad following Richardson's arrest for attempted armed robbery, he transferred to Division I-AA Hampton in Virginia and impressed his coaches with what seemed to be a renewed commitment to football and school.
That changed this summer, however, when Richardson's participation in class and workouts was inconsistent. When Hampton hit the field for its first practice of training camp Tuesday, Richardson was absent.
"I thought he was going to turn out great," Pirates offensive coordinator Fred Kaiss said. "He was making progress, but it all went south. I'm disappointed.
"He seemed to disappear a bunch in the summer. Wasn't going to class. Stopped doing the things he needed to do."
He would have been a sophomore receiver for Hampton if he had stayed.
Kaiss didn't want to discuss details of Richardson's departure. Coffeyville Athletic Director Jeff Leiker confirmed Wednesday that Richardson is there and practicing. Leiker said that Mike Edwards, who also got kicked out of Tennessee after taking part in the Richardson incident, and Duron Carter, son of ex-NFL and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter, are also at Coffeyville.
Richardson, 19, has not returned messages this summer.
Richardson hinted at transferring a few days ago when he posted this message on his Facebook page: "Switch up da Team, bac & spotlight in ready to Blow!"
By playing in junior college this fall, Richardson will be eligible to transfer to a Division I-A program and play in the 2011 season. He could not have gone directly from Hampton to Division I-A without sitting out a season.
In April, Richardson said he would not transfer to a community college, or anywhere else. "Right now, my head's good. I'm in love with Hampton. I'm growing up now," he said.
It has been less than 20 months since he played his final game for Pahokee, helping the Blue Devils win a state championship in 2008, but that short span has been turbulent.
Richardson and two other Tennessee teammates were arrested Nov. 12 for attempted armed robbery after an incident at a Knoxville convenience store that Richardson described as a prank gone wrong. Kiffin kicked Richardson and fellow freshman Mike Edwards off the team four days later; the coach reinstated safety Janzen Jackson.
Richardson pleaded guilty to reduced charges and agreed to three years of probation.
He admitted in April that he had problems with alcohol and marijuana while at Tennessee, but said he quit both substances since enrolling at Hampton.
As a high school senior, he was at the center of a heated recruiting battle between Kiffin and Florida coach Urban Meyer. Richardson committed to the Gators in May 2008, but flashed a Tennessee hat at Pahokee's national signing day ceremony in February 2009.
He had intended to enroll at Florida a month earlier, but did not qualify academically and began considering Tennessee.
Richardson was an all-America selection as a senior and a finalist for Florida's Mr. Football award. Rivals.com rated him the nation's No. 9 receiver in his graduating class and he had offers from a long list of BCS powers.