Sigh. You knew we'd have to address this eventually, right? It's already been a long series, and you may not have the stomach for this particular entry, but do keep reading, because I have a question for you at the end of it.
Anyway, today we reach RTT#4 in the Class of 2009, Nu'Keese Richardson. Let's start with the promise of morning:
Four stars, ten jars. A top three offer package that included Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan, which doesn't even include the whole Florida-had-to-cheat-and-still-didn't-get-him thing. Monte Kiffin practically did jumping jacks (okay, a jumping jack) describing Richardson at the infamous post-National Signing Day Chest Thumping Tour. Before there was Bryce Brown (double sigh), there was Nu'Keese Richardson. Kiffin's trophy recruit.
How'd he do? Well, let's start with on-the-field:
Well, that's not bad for a true freshman. Fifty-eight yards on the ground, 102 and a TD through the air, 66 yards on punt returns, and 292 on kickoff returns is not at all shabby, although you might expect it from a ten-jar phenom that makes septuagenarians dance. In fact, if you emphasize the positive, you get two minutes and six seconds of what appears to be extraordinary potential:
Of course that video doesn't show Richardson's tendency to let punts hit the ground right next to him, bouncing wildly between his legs, and other such nonsense.
Such as this nonsense, which happened on November 12, 2009, and which explains why, as the pellet-gun trigger man, he never played for Tennessee again:
Misunderstood prank? A brief lapse in judgment? Maybe not.
Is there any doubt that Nu'Keese Richardson was the biggest bust in the Class of 2009? No one in this class matched the combination of sky-high expectations and the eventual five-yard-long face divot he left on the Shields-Watkins field.
In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't the biggest bust ever for a Tennessee recruit? We've had greater expectations of players. We've had players fail to perform on Saturdays and do worse things to embarrass the program than try to steal a man's burger with a pellet gun and a Prius. But has anyone in orange ever combined the two with such flair?
I ask you, Vol fans, who else in Tennessee history even comes close?