As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Most folks, including Auburn’s coaching staff, like to compare Richards to former stud Auburn tailback Kerryon Johnson. The similarities are pretty striking. Richards has a similar frame to KJ’s coming out of high school. Both are patient runners who do a great job using their offhand to create more separation by delivering devastating stiff arms. Both are guys other coaching staffs liked more as DBs. Oh and they both wear #21. However, I do think there are some striking differences. First, Richards is probably more explosive than KJ in the open field. Second, KJ was probably a bit physically stronger than Richards coming out of high school. Finally, Richards might be a more skilled pass catcher than KJ was as a prospect. Either way, Auburn is getting a fantastic athlete in Mark Antony-Richards who has a chance to see the field early. He will need to bulk up a bit more if he wants to take the pounding of SEC play but there’s no denying he’s got a skillset that can make him an effective weapon for the Tigers in the ensuing years.
Another member of the 2019 class appears in our countdown, which goes to show you how much top end talent this class brought in (even if we missed on offensive lineman). Mark-Antony Richards, younger brother of former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, was long considered a Miami lean. However, just as Auburn was a finalist for the elder Richards brother, the Tigers were a top contender to land the talents of the younger Richards. When Miami underwent all of the coaching changes late in Richards’s recruiting cycle, Auburn stepped up as a favorite to land the 4* running back.
The Tigers did just that this past signing day, and, along with fellow 4* signee D.J. Williams, the Tigers brought in one of their best running back classes in recent memory. It may be difficult for Richards to see the field in a crowded running back crew, but with a back who’s as skilled receiving the ball as he is, you can bet Gus will find a way to get him the ball early.