Anthony Richardson (6-3, 209, Gainesville, Fla. Eastside) has a lot of pressure riding on his shoulders now that he is committed to his hometown school.
Not many players get that opportunity, but the 2020 quarterback became one in a small handful when he committed to the Florida Gators last month after Friday Night Lights.
Now that his high school season is in swing, he wants to put those expectations aside and simply play the way he always has, and the way that got him in this position in the first place.
“I just try to stay to myself and not let all the social media and all the hype get to me, because I just try to be myself,” Richardson said. “The same me I’ve been since I was younger. I just try to play hard and do what I have to do.”
He showed that in his first high school game of the season Friday night as Eastside squared off against Gainesville foe Buchholz. While Eastside ultimately fell 38-27, Richardson finished the game with two passing touchdowns as well as two rushing touchdowns.
He likely would have had a couple more had it not been for so many drops from his receivers. There were as many as 10 dropped passes throughout the night on good balls from Richardson.
That can be deflating as a quarterback, especially as a recruit working to get his name out there. Richardson showed a bit of emotion late in the game due to the struggles, but at the end of it, he did not have anything bad to say about his teammates, only that he wanted to get more work in with them to get it corrected.
“It’s just a couple of minor mistakes,” he said. “We’re gonna get in the lab and try to correct everything. I haven’t really been working with my receivers lately, because I’ve been resting my shoulder, but I want to try to get with them either Saturday or Sunday so we can get our timing back together and just get used to catching the balls.”
Richardson left it all on the field. He impressed the most in a fourth quarter drive as he carried the team on his back.
He lowered his shoulder and laid out a defender for a quick first down run, then took it himself again for 19 yards to get to the 9-yard line. He ended up putting it in for a score on a quarterback sneak from the 3-yard line a few plays later.
“I just told my guys I was gonna come out and play hard and I wanted them to play hard with me, and that’s what we did,” Richardson said. “We lost but we still played hard.”
He is really focused on his high school season right now, but still maintaining a strong relationship with Florida’s coaching staff.
“They’ve told me that they’re ready for me to get there,” he said. “I’ve just been keeping in touch with them, talking about future things. Just getting ready for stuff like that.”
Richardson proved the type of asset he could be for the Gators in a few years on Friday night. He is a passionate, hard-working player, and the hometown kid said he is still all in with Florida.