Missouri Tigers Football News and Notes: Sheldon Richardson Firm on Commitment

Ryan FallerAnalyst IJanuary 31, 2010

Just wanted to pass on a couple notes of interest as we move within three days until National Signing Day:

Sheldon Richardson Update

At this time last year, MU fans were in a tizzy over the decision of five-star recruit Sheldon Richardson , the former defensive tackle/tight end from St. Louis. Richardson ultimately ended a heated recruiting war on national signing day '09 by selecting Missouri over a host of other big-time programs that included Miami (FL.).

However, after learning that he would not qualify academically for the 2009-10 school year, Richardson enrolled at College of the Sequoias, a junior college in Visalia, Calif. Rated by Rivals.com as one of the top defensive tackles in the 2009 class, Richardson played mostly defensive end this past season in junior college, racking up 65 tackles, including 17 for loss, and earning regional honors.

And as the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter reports, Richardson now plans to redshirt during the 2010 season  before graduating in December, giving him three seasons of eligibility in Columbia, where he's expected to enroll in time for the 2011 winter semester.

Though Richardson is not obligated to uphold the terms of the letter of intent he signed in 2009, he has made it clear he is not re-opening his recruitment. In fact, he is included on MU's list of commitments for the 2011 class at Rivals.com.

“I’m very solid,” Richardson told the Tribune, referring to his commitment. “As solid as it can get. There’s really no more solid than what it is.”

Here's some video on Richardson.


Speaking of the 2011 class...

Missouri played host to more than 50 potential recruits from the class of 2011 over the weekend. Among those in attendance were several players who should be counted among the state's top-20 when rankings are released later this year.

According to Power Mizzou , MU's Rivals.com affiliate, among those in town were cornerback Bernard Thomas and running back Darrian Miller of Blue Springs, wide receiver Devonte Majors (St. Louis), running back Robert Standard (St. Louis), and Columbia's very own Wesley Leftwich , a receiver from Hickman High School who has already fielded an offer from the Tigers.

"It means a lot," Leftwich told Power Mizzou, "to know they're making me that big of a priority."

Leftwich is currently being recruited by the likes of Notre Dame, Iowa, and UCLA.

The site also reported that Missouri's coaching staff is expected to begin handing out more offers for the class of 2011 after its current recruiting efforts are wrapped up this week. No offers were extended over the weekend.


Pittsburgh To The Big Ten?

Now for a story that, though not confirmed, is sure to only pick up speed in coming days.

Bleacher Report senior writer Kristofer Green touches on this story in more detail.

According to multiple unsubstantiated sources, the University of Pittsburgh has accepted a bid from the Big Ten to become the conference's 12th member. As the story goes, athletic department officials from the university this past week held closed-door meetings with student-athletes to inform them of the decision, leading to a virtual firestorm on Twitter, where Pitt student-athletes announced the news.

Those announcements have since been erased, according to reports, though it is unclear whether the student-athletes were asked to delete them.

Thus far limited primarily to Pittsburgh message boards, it's only a matter of time before more and more blogs jump all over this. As of now, no reputable news outlet has yet to confirm this story with both Pittsburgh and Big Ten officials. Until then, I find it hard to get too involved.

If, indeed, Pittsburgh has accepted an invitation to join the Big Ten, it does not necessarily put an end to the candidacy of schools like Syracuse, Rutgers, and Missouri, which has been one of the presumed front-runners to join the conference.

Though 12 members would allow the Big Ten to institute a conference championship game between two six-team divisions, some sources have reported that Big Ten officials may strive to add up to five teams , making the conference as large as 16 schools.

In December, the Big Ten's Council of Presidents/Chancellors stated it was time for the conference to once again explore expansion. Commissioner Jim Delany was then told he would be given 12 to 18 months to compile a list of candidates.

The idea that Delany would need less than two months to not only formulate that list but pinpoint the conference's most lucrative option is what makes this rumor—and that's all it is at this point, a rumor—a bit hard to believe.


For this article and more, visit my page at Examiner.com .


Photo credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch