Vols Among Final Teams for Top-100 Overall Athlete

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    (Photo via @Mark21Richards on Twitter)

    August has been a slow month for recruiting so far as high school athletes are preparing for their upcoming season, but the Vols received some good news on Sunday when one of the top athletes in the 2019 class included them in his top teams moving forward.

    Mark-Antony Richards is one of the highest-rated athletes in the 2019 recruiting cycle. On Sunday, the dynamic athlete from West Palm Beach in Florida tweeted out his final five schools in his recruitment, and he included the Vols along with Miami, Auburn, Florida, and Penn State.

    Richards is the No. 77 overall player and No. 4 athlete in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete holds offers from nearly two dozen schools, and including the teams in his top five he also has offers from Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, and others.

    The versatile Richards plays a multitude of positions for Wellington High School. He primarily plays safety and running back, but he also lines out wide as a receiver and participates on special teams as well. And he excels at everything he does at the high school level.

    As a safety, Richards is a hard hitter who also has some pretty good awareness. He’ll upend a running back on one play then make a smart decision defending the pass on another. On offense, Richards uses his blistering speed to glide down the field and dodge defenders. He moves with ease on the field, and he’s not easy to bring down even when a defender gets a hand on him.

    During his junior season, Richards amassed 2,136 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns while also totaling 56 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a sack.

    Plucking Richards out of Florida will be tough, and it’s clear that Miami is the favorite for his services right now. His older brother, Ahmmom, currently plays receiver for the Hurricanes, and Mark-Antony has already visited Miami numerous times this year. He’s scheduled to take an official visit to Auburn once the season begins, but it’s obvious that the Hurricanes are the front-runner for his services.

    Tennessee’s coaches would love to have an athlete of Richards’ caliber in their recruiting class, but as of right now they’re definitely trailing in his recruitment. Getting Richards on campus for a visit this season could change things, but it will take a monumental effort for the Vols to pull him away from Miami at this point.