DJ Durkin was in South Florida last June during Michigan's satellite camp tour when he noticed a defensive back fighting for a chance to take on some of the area's top talent over and over again.

Antwaine Richardson, Durkin said, was cutting back in line to get more reps and show what he could do to Durkin, then Michigan's defensive coordinator, and Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh. They were impressed and offered him a scholarship, which Richardson accepted June 12.


Fast forward nearly eight months: Richardson tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the summer, missed his senior season, decommitted from Michigan and picked Maryland to continue his career. Now he's on campus in College Park as an enrollee, and he could have the opportunity to contribute early.

"Part of the big reason of him being mid-year and him being up here right now is so he can be with our training staff, our doctors, and we can really help him that way," Durkin said on National Signing Day on Feb. 3. "We're going to just take it as it comes and not push it too hard, and we'll just see where he's at. It's not unrealistic to say that he could play and help us because of when the injury occurred."

When Richardson does take the field again, whether it's in the spring, during fall camp or at some point later in the season, his high school coach expects him to showcase the same traits that made him a sought-after prospect.

"He's a competitor," said T.J. Jackson, Richardson's coach at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, Fla. "He wants to win every jump ball. He wants to win every 1-on-1 matchup. He wants to win every play."

Competitiveness was one of the four things Durkin said he looks for in a recruit, so Richardson should fit in with a Maryland defense that reloaded in the secondary with six defensive backs in its recruiting haul. The 6-foot, 168-pound cornerback was a consensus three-star prospect, and ESPN ranked him as the No. 49 cornerback in the nation. In the 247sports.com Composite rankings, Richardson was the No. 83 cornerback and No. 122 player in Florida.

Jackson said Richardson is "going to bring a lot to the table" at Maryland, and Richardson has the potential to be among the best defensive backs in the country in the next three years.

"He's got that type of ability to really do some great things at Maryland," Jackson said.

"He's not going to let anyone outwork him," he added.

Richardson addresses a position of definite need for the Terps. After cornerback Sean Davis and safeties Anthony Nixon and A.J. Hendy exhausted their eligibility, Maryland is looking for three new starters in the secondary. Depending on his health, Richardson could end up with a headstart in seizing a spot in the defensive back rotation.

But right now, Richardson is getting back to full strength and his adjustment from Florida to College Park.

"He's in classes, wearing his winter gear, getting used to the weather up here and all that," Durkin said. "But he's got a big smile on his face and doing great."



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