After a stellar junior season, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is taking his game to the NFL. While Missouri didn’t fare well in their first season as members of the SEC, the Tigers’ top defender enjoyed a fantastic year that propelled his draft stock to a potential top 20 selection.
He led the SEC among defensive tackles with 75, and also finished the season with 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He added a blocked kick and three forced fumbles, and the 6’4″ 295 pound beast in the middle just knew that it was time to move on.
“This has been my dream ever since I was a little kid,” Richardson said in a statement released by Missouri. “It’s still not easy leaving Mizzou like this, but I know I’m ready. I really appreciate all of the support I got here at Mizzou, and I know that they will help me and my family with this next step. I’ll always be a Tiger,” he said.
Richardson’s been a bit controversial this season, missing a game against Syracuse for missing classes and failing to complete punishment for missing said classes.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel says that Richardson is ready to go to the big time.
“I’ve always said that when guys have opportunities like these, if they’re ready to go, then they should go,” coach Pinkel said in a statement. “I have no doubt that Sheldon is ready to play in the NFL, and while we’d love to have him for another year, the important thing is that this is the right decision. It will be fun watching him play on Sundays.”
Hopefully Richardson is more committed to his playbook in the NFL than he was to his school work this past year. If he is, he could be a force for whatever team chooses to pick him up.