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MCGILL: Herd's Richardson moved by 'We Are Marshall'

Terry Richardson.
Sept. 4, 2016

By Chuck McGill

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – On the eve of the first day of classes at Marshall University, the football team’s newcomers – freshmen and transfers – congregated in the team room inside the Shewey Building. They grabbed Gatorade and popcorn and plopped in a seat, usually with at least two or three chairs in between them.

They’re here to watch the movie “We Are Marshall,” and for some, it is a first-time viewing experience. It can be a profound moment for incoming football players, some who don’t know the specifics of the 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives of 75 people.

“That movie had a huge impact on me,” said Terry Richardson, a graduate transfer from the University of Michigan. “I was supposed to watch it before I got down here, but I didn’t. It was a good thing Doc had us in there to watch it.

“It changes your perspective.”

Richardson, a 5-foot-9, 174-pound defensive back, is a senior and older than most newcomers. He’ll turn 22 on Sept. 15, in between the home opener against Morgan State and a visit from Akron. The Detroit, Michigan, native will likely see heavy action as the team’s nickelback, and Thundering Herd fans won’t have to worry about Richardson straining and striving.

“People gave their all for this,” Richardson said as he pointed toward the Joan C. Edwards Stadium turf. “People gave their lives for this. Who am I not to give it my best effort?”

Richardson was a Class of 2012 recruit who was rated a 4-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. He had offers from programs all across the country, including Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame and Southern California.

He chose Michigan and played 15 games there, and he took pride in playing for the winningest program in college football history.

“Michigan doesn’t have a story like Marshall, but I remember knowing that when you walked in that stadium – this is a program that’s been playing ball since the 1800s – so who are you not to give it your all?” he said. “It’s the same thing here at Marshall. It just struck me hard.”

Richardson chose Marshall because he had one year of eligibility remaining and was searching for the best defensive fit. He bonded with Adam Fuller, the assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, the latter of whom also played for Michigan.

“I knew, from a defensive standpoint, I wanted some carryover,” Richardson said. “There are some new things I’m learning that I’ve got to adjust to like the techniques and alignments and assignments. Some of that is new.

“But I didn’t have time to waste out here struggling to learn a defense.”

Opportunity brought Richardson here, but this season’s meaning has changed for him. He came here for himself, but now he knows he is playing for so much more.

“There is a tradition and a legacy to carry on here,” Richardson said. “I am so proud to be able to wear this helmet.”