On National Signing Day in February of 2009, Sheldon Richardson signed a Letter of Intent to play football for the Missouri Tigers. Now, exactly 918 days after that signing, the highly-touted defensive lineman will actually get to don the Mizzou uniform for the first time.
According to multiple media outlets, Richardson has been cleared academically by the NCAA and will practice with his Tiger teammates Thursday morning. The lineman had been on campus for over a week awaiting the go-ahead from The Association.
The NCAA’s all-clear what’s been a two-and-a-half-year roller coaster ride for Richardson, the coaching staff and the program’s fans. A native of St. Louis, Richardson, a five-star player and the No. 4 player in the country overall, had given a verbal commitment to Mizzou way back in 2007. After signing with the Tigers in early 2009, he failed to qualify academically and was forced to go the JUCO route in California.
While Richardson maintained a commitment to his home-state school as he attempted to get his academic house in order, he did create a more-than-minor flap by flipping his verbal to USC in November of 2010. A month later, however, he flipped back to the Tigers.
Now, with everything apparently in order, the question will begin to be answered: was the defensive tackle really worth all of the consternation, angst and hand-wringing?