It seems like virtually every Texas A&M football player that had the opportunity to enter the NFL Draft this offseason has done just that. The only notable return thus far has been Ainias Smith, the Aggies’ leading receiver from the past couple of seasons.
On Thursday, another player joined him in returning to College Station. That player is Demani Richarson, who will be returning for his fourth year under Jimbo Fisher.
Upon first glance, the return of Richardson might not be overwhelmingly exciting. At the safety position, he often becomes one of the more forgotten-about pieces of this team. That said, his impact extends beyond just the field.
With a handful of incoming freshmen in the secondary for Texas A&M football, Demani Richardson’s return was necessary
Richardson is one of the unsung heroes on this defense, but he’s been around for a while. The former top-100 prospect entered his current starting role on the defense as early as his freshman season, starting in eight of the nine games that he played in.
The A&M safety knows how to be a young player on a big stage.
Richardson is one of the most experienced players on the team — in three seasons, he has accumulated 172 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He’s been overshadowed by bigger names at times, but has been a key piece of this defense for a long time.
Now, the Aggies are undergoing somewhat of an overhaul. Leon O’Neal Jr. will be gone in the secondary while a few key pieces will head to the NFL from the Aggies’ front line. To replace them, A&M is bringing in players like five-star cornerback Denver Harris and top-60 safety Bryce Anderson.
There is also a trio of incoming secondary pieces in Marquis Groves-Killebrew, Bobby Taylor, and Jarred Kerr, all of whom are enrolling early. It goes under the radar, but the importance of having a strong mentor for these young guys cannot be understated.
That said, it’s not all off the field — we’ve seen that Demani Richardson can be a monster out on the field and should continue to do his thing in 2021.