Nu’Keese Richardson hadn’t always planned on signing with Tennessee.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound wide receiver signed with UT on Feb. 4 after he switched his commitment from Florida.
Richardson wasn’t the only player to sign with UT after pledging to the Gators.
Athlete Marsalis Teague from Henry County High School in Paris, Tenn., also changed his mind on National Signing Day and signed with the Vols.
He and Teague plan to be roommates at UT.
Richardson looked back at the recruiting process and forward to his career at UT in the Q&A.
Q: What did you most enjoy about the recruiting process?
A: Basically just talking to the coaches and meeting the players. Seeing new things. It was great. I’m seeing coaches that have been in the (NFL) and been coaching for quite a while. I was kind of nervous but everything worked out and everything was good.
Q: What was the hardest part about the recruiting process?
A: I’d have to say the reporters with all the calls. It was kind of overwhelming but everything was all right. I didn’t mind doing it because I know that I’m going to have to do it eventually so everything’s good. It just came on. No one talked to me about it to tell me it was going to be like this. It was shocking to me.
Q: When did you know you would have a future playing football?
A: I’d say when I was around nine (years old). My uncle came and got me. I was always a basketball-type guy. He saw me one day playing sandlot in the backyard and took me to a little city recreation. It all started there. I was playing running back, quarterback, receiver, everything. He basically just kept me well grounded, and I just stuck to it and that’s where I’m at now. It just came natural.
Q: What’s your favorite part about playing football when you step onto the field?
A: Just going out there and competing and playing against the best. I’m a competitive guy that likes to compete. I like to see where I’m at. Being a receiver, knowing I can beat this guy and he’s a top prospect. That’s one of the reasons right there.
Q: What do you think the adjustment to college will be like?
A: It will be at a faster pace. The game’s faster — the crowd, the fans. It’s going to be real exciting. I know it will be crazy. You’ve got all the fans. It will be exciting.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: I have two — (New Orleans Saints running back) Reggie Bush and (Philadelphia Eagles receiver) DeSean Jackson. I’d say my game is similar to both of them. DeSean has the speed and quickness and also he’s small. He’s elusive. Reggie’s just exciting. He’s an exciting player overall. I try to make my game similar to those two guys.
Q: If I told you two years ago that you would play football for UT, what would you have said?
A: I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have been hearing you, but it probably would have gone out the other ear. I’d be like, “All right.” It would sound good.
Q: What are your goals at UT?
A: Basically my short-term is to get bigger, learn the plays and learn the game. Not try to do too much. Long-term is get my degree and work on my major. If God blesses me I’ll be able to go to the next level and take it from there.
Q: What has life been like at Pahokee since you signed with UT?
A: Actually everybody’s been showing me love, congratulating me on my decision. They’ve been happy for me overall.
Q: What do you think next year’s UT-Florida game will be like?
A: I know all the hype. They’re going to hype the game up. It’s going to be crazy. I know I committed to Florida, and me decommitting just like Marsalis Teague, we’ve become real good friends. We’re going to do our thing and make it happen. We’re just trying to get a room together (at Tennessee). We’re going to room up and take it from there.
Q: You were a key figure in the UT-Florida talk when coach Lane Kiffin said Florida coach Urban Meyer cheated to try to get you to choose Florida. What did you think when you saw all that attention?
A: I was shocked, first of all. I didn’t know what to expect. I was getting calls from family and friends. They were just letting me know. They were trying to see what was going on. At first I was kind of scared. I was like, “Uh, oh,” when my name popped up. It turned out to be nothing big. I just laughed it off. (The media) just made it bigger than it was.
Q: You probably didn’t mind getting your name mentioned all over ESPN, did you?
A: No, it was straight. It was nationwide so that was all right.
Q: Coach Kiffin has received a lot of national attention since then. What have you thought about it?
A: He’s doing it for a reason — everything. He’s just trying to let everybody know, “Don’t sleep on Tennessee. We’re coming.” We’re coming hard so don’t sleep on us.