Receiver Verbal Still Locked In with Maryland

East Orange (NJ) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak as three-star athlete Josh Richards looks to get his team back on track. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound athlete has started at receiver and safety all season and although he heads to Maryland as a receiver next season, he’s enjoyed lining up as a ballhawk on the other side of the field.

“I’d say safety probably more fun to play,” he told Inside the Black and Gold. Still, Richards couldn’t find the endzone in last weekend’s 17-7 loss against Clifton, a result that ended East Orange’s brief playoff run. Richards found the endzone on an eight-yard touchdown two weeks ago in a 19-13 loss to Passaic County.

While the big-framed receiver will look to end the season on a high note with one last game against Barringer during Thanksgiving weekend, Richards is also preparing to step into a position room in College Park that will face ample turnover this offseason. Richards hasn’t been able to visit campus with his games primarily on Saturday afternoon, but he’s been able to keep a close eye on them.

“I’ve been keeping up with all the games, all the box scores. Everything,” Richards added. “I know I belong and they’ve been preaching at Maryland that we’re going to be one of the underdog teams on the rise, just like my team. It’s good to see it all start to come to plan.” While it’s unclear who will be QB1 for head coach Mike Locksley’s offense next season, Richards knows he’ll have opportunities to flash.

“Maryland’s offense is great. Love the way they’re run, how they can get guys the ball and spread the ball around the field. It’s a perfect scheme for me to come in and make big plays.” Cornerbacks coach Henry Baker has led his recruitment and the staff brought Richards on campus during the final weekend of June, a weekend that produced three commitments including Richards. Since then, contact has remained status quo as he’s fired up about his future in College Park.

“Conversation has been great with them. They’ve been teaching me a lot of stuff about Maryland, making sure I’m good in school. Keeping me on the right track and getting me ready to get there.” He’s enjoyed getting to know his future teammates through the ‘23 group chat among the 21 verbals so far. “We’ve had it for a little minute. We had a groupchat since that visit up there since I committed so just keeping each other updated, sending each other our games and stuff, keeping up with each other off the field. It’s just a great fit for me and the 2023 guys.”

Richards committed to Maryland over Syracuse and Rutgers, though he says both have stayed in touch with him. “A couple of coaches have stayed in contact or send me some motivational stuff to keep me going.” Is he considering a future visit? “I don’t think anything of it. I just try and focus on my game, focus on the season. I see no change right now.”

Richards is rated a three-star prospect and an 85 overall by On3.

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