Florida QB Anthony Richardson Says He'll Stop Using 'AR-15' Nickname

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2022

GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 14: Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) makes a pass attempt during the Florida Spring football game on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, FL (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson wrote Sunday that he will no longer be using the "AR-15" nickname and branding because of the wave of mass shootings in the United States.

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

JUST IN: Florida QB <a href="https://twitter.com/GVOaant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GVOaant</a> has posted on his web page that he is no longer using the nickname “AR-15” to distance himself from the assault rifle. <a href="https://t.co/6iQzkMMn7x">pic.twitter.com/6iQzkMMn7x</a>

The AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifle types were used in "at least six of the 14 mass shootings this year in which four or more victims died, according to the Gun Violence Archive," per Ashley R. Williams of USA Today.

Richardson, 21, split time with Emory Jones as a redshirt freshman last season, throwing for 529 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 59.4 percent of his passes across seven games. He also rushed for 401 yards and three scores.

With Jones now at Arizona State, however, the starting gig is Richardson's alone, and expectations are high.

In June, ESPN's Jordan Reid named Richardson the No. 5 quarterback prospect to know in the 2023 NFL draft, noting that he has a "stocky and sturdy build, and despite a loopy arm motion, the ball comes off his hand with plenty of energy. But he also understands when and how to put touch on his passes. And with his downhill rushing ability and vision as a ball carrier, he can be an extension of the running game."

The other quarterbacks on that list including Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Alabama's Bryce Young—who is the defending Heisman Trophy winner—Miami's Tyler Van Dyke and Kentucky's Will Levis.

While Richardson's potential is high, there are enough question marks surrounding him in his first year as a full-time starter that PFF's Anthony Treash ranked him as the No. 30 quarterback overall in college football heading into the 2022 campaign.

Richardson will have to prove he's worth the hype, in other words. He'll be doing so with a new nickname this season.