Visiting prospect a multi-tasker

Published: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 at 5:15 p.m.

Jim Brown would be proud.



Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Hometown

Andre Debose 6-0/180 WR Sanford, Fla.

Gary Brown 6-3/275 DT Quincy, Fla.

Marlon Brown 6-5/205 WR Memphis, Tenn.

Joshua Evans 6-1/185 ATH Irvington, N.J.

Nu’Keese Richardson 5-9/151 WR Pahokee, Fla.

Jordan Reed 6-3/230 QB New London, Conn.

Brown, who sits in both the NFL and Lacrosse Halls of Fame, starred in four sports during his time at Syracuse University from 1954-56. Since then, athletes attempting such feats are few.

But there could be hope on the way.

Current Florida commitment Nu’Keese Richardson has given it some thought, and there’s a chance he could try his hand at four sports when he arrives in Gainesville over the summer.

The 5-foot-9, 151-pound Pahokee athlete is headed to UF as a wide receiver, but his high school sports resume also consisted of playing outfield and pitching for his baseball team, guard on his basketball team and running in various track and field events.

Richardson said his original plan was to only concentrate on football at UF, but when he informed Gators receivers coach Billy Gonzales that he also played basketball, his future coach told him he might get a shot at it in college.

“Coach Gonzales said he’s going to come down and see me (play basketball),” Richardson said. “So, we’ll see what happens.”

Like most of UF’s speedier football players, Richardson plans to run track for the Gators. His high school events consist of the 100m, the 4x1 and sometimes the 200m.

But where Richardson could really be special is in baseball. Forget his size, Richardson claims to have a secret weapon when he steps onto the baseball diamond.

“I throw a fastball at 90 (mph),” he said.

Without any sort of hesitation, Richardson reiterated that does have what some would consider a Major League arm, but hasn’t thought about a future in baseball because he’s been so focused on football for most of his life.

But without his years of baseball experience, Richardson said he wouldn’t be the same athlete that he is on the football field, especially with the time he has spent in the outfield.

“Everything’s got to be eye-coordinated,” he said, “just like baseball. I can play baseball and then turn around play football too, because when you’re playing outfield and someone hits the ball out you have to be aware of the ball and have a feel for the ball.”

Richardson certainly has a feel for the ball as he excelled at not just receiver but quarterback, defensive back and as a return man for the Blue Devils. He also accounted for 20 total touchdowns in 2008. He might have moved around the field in high school, but Richardson said UF’s coaches have talked about primarily using him as Percy Harvin was used in the Gators’ offense.

“I don’t like to call it the ‘Percy position,’ ” Richardson said, “but they’ll utilize me to get me the ball.”

Richardson is used to getting the ball a lot. He touched the rock on almost every offensive play after switching over to starting quarterback for most of his senior year at Pahokee. While a considerable amount of his game consisted of taking direct snaps and running with the ball, Richardson said his time at quarterback improved his football IQ.

He says he reads defenses better, and even though he wasn’t catching passes, Richardson said taking the ball from under center or in the shotgun has helped his hand-eye coordination.

It has yet to be seen if Richardson will make several homes in different locker rooms around UF’s campus, but there’s always hope.

“Kind of thinking about it, it sounds good,” he said.

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