Miami recruiting: Mark-Antony Richards, Ahmmon’s brother, gives hint about future

Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. David Wilson and the team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read  daily notebooks here at 10 a.m. ET from Monday through Friday and  follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.

Mark-Antony Richards: ‘I’ve kind of chosen to play offense’

There aren’t many who doubt Mark Richards‘ ability. The rising star from Wellington (Fla.) High School is up to No. 3 among athletes and No. 39 overall for the Class of 2019 in the 247Sports composite rankings. He’s a player virtually every team in the nation wants to get their hands on. Miami, where his older brother Ahmmon is a star wide receiver, envisions him as a dominant defensive back. Alabama, which actually has not yet offered, wants him to compete at a camp as a hybrid offensive player.

Richards’ film is loaded with highlights of his play as Wellington’s dynamic free safety. His frame reminds coaches of his older brother, suggesting younger brother could replicate some of his ability.

RELATED:  2019 Miami recruiting big board

Richards, at least at the start of this offseason, is hoping to put another facet of his skill set on display. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Richards is also electric at running back, his primary position with the Wolves. On Sunday, he went up against some of the best competition in the country and earned running back MVP honors at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Hialeah, Fla. After running for 954 yards and pulling in another 605 receiving yards as a junior, Richards thrived as an all-purpose back to kick off the camp circuit.

“A few colleges, they like me at running back, they like me at receiver,” Richards told DieHards on Monday. “As of right now, I’ve kind of chosen to play offense in college. I’m not sure if it’s running back or receiver, or maybe it’s both. I play running back at camps because it’s something I’m comfortable with, but it’s also something I want to prove. I want to prove that I can actually play running back because my film really shows a lot of defense.”

His defense intrigues the Hurricanes most, although wide receivers coach Ron Dugans is his primary recruiter. Last fall, Richards logged 56 tackles, grabbed 3 interceptions and forced a fumble for Wellington. His physicality and smoothness as an athlete make him exactly the sort of prospect Miami looks for in the safety. Targeting Richards on defense also means the Hurricanes can throw out any concerns about his lack of a true position.

Miami will be able to get another close look at the prospect the weekend of June 9, when Richards will compete with Wellington in a 7-on-7 tournament at the Mark Richt Football Camp. Richards also plans to return to Coral Gables, Fla., later during the summer for Miami’s annual Paradise Camp.

At the first camp, Richards will probably go both ways, playing offense and defense with his high school team. When he returns for Paradise, though, Richards will be open to playing in the secondary.

“It depends where the college likes me best,” Richards said. “I’ll go and play that position.”

His desire to play offense could throw an interesting wrench in his recruitment, particularly for those who assumed he was destined to follow his brother with the Hurricanes. Georgia, Auburn and the Crimson Tide could all push for him as an offensive player. Oregon, which offered during January, could work its way into the picture after Richards identified the Ducks as one of his childhood favorite teams. Clemson, South Carolina and Ohio State are other schools Richards mentions.

The biggest threat to Miami, however, might be Florida. The Gators became a major suitor before former coach Jim McElwain was ousted. The new staff is now starting to ramp up communication. Coach Dan Mullen stopped by Richards’ school earlier this month and the athlete will visit later this month for a junior day in Gainesville.

“I haven’t really made eye-to-eye contact with the coaches,” Richards said. “I haven’t really spoken to them face-to-face, but when I go up there I’m hoping I can meet them all personally and really build a strong relationship with Florida because I feel like they’re definitely a school I’ll keep an eye on.”

News and nuggets from Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in South Florida:

  • Richards was one of three major targets to win a positional MVP award at the event. Dontae Lucas was one of the others and the 4-star guard told Matt Shodell of he still has Miami at the top of his list. “Miami’s my front-runner. They’re in front of everyone because they’re the home team,” said Lucas, who recently transferred from Miami High School to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
  • Anthony Solomon was the other major Hurricanes target to earn an MVP honor at Milander Park. The 4-star outside linebacker, however, still has Michigan at the top of his list. Miami should be a long-term factor with the rising senior from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., though. Solomon’s mother is a Hurricane and he told Rivals it will help keep Miami in the picture. “UM is really up there with them, I just need some time to meet the coaches more and really understand how they want me to fit into their scheme,” Solomon said.
  • Even if they’re working from behind on Solomon, the Hurricanes are in excellent position to land the Miami metropolitan area’s best edge rusher — at least that’s what his peers say. Rivals’ Rob Cassidy and Woody Wommack polled players at the 3 Stripe Camp about where they saw some of their fellow campers winding up. Five players guessed a destination for 4-star weakside defensive end Khris Bogle. All five picked the Hurricanes.
  • Cameron Williams remains a relative unknown despite his Miami commitment. The 3-star weakside defensive end was previously committed to Florida before flipping to the Hurricanes during January, only about a month after receiving an offer. Cassidy says Williams’ low profile won’t last long. The defensive end was a standout in Hialeah and a 4-star bump seems inevitable.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of DieHards’ daily Miami  recruiting notebook right here.

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