LYNCHBURG — Liberty football coach Turner Gill announced Tuesday that former University of Virginia running back Clifton Richardson is transferring to Liberty.
“I’m thrilled,” Gill said in a phone interview. “Thrilled, excited and [it’s] great to have a player of his caliber to help us improve as a football team.”
Richardson is the second running back in the past decade to transfer from a Football Bowl Subdivision school to Liberty.
Rashad Jennings transferred from Pittsburgh and played for three seasons with the Flames. Jennings is currently on the Oakland Raiders' roster.
The move to attend Liberty came with what Gill said was Richardson seeing Liberty as a school that gave him an opportunity to be successful.
“He wanted to have an opportunity to play, be on a winning team, possibly play at the next level and have a great education,” Gill said.
Richardson will add some needed depth to the running back position at Liberty as the Flames had four backs on the spring roster (two who saw playing time in 2012) and only two recruits in the incoming freshmen class.
Richardson, at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, likely fills the void of the between-the-tackles-type back that Liberty lost when Aldreakis Allen was indefinitely suspended during the spring.
Gill listed three aspects of Richardson’s running back that caught his attention — “tremendous power, above average elusiveness and outstanding speed.”
He also added that he hopes once Richardson begins understanding the new playbook, he will elevate his game in all three phases — running, catching and blocking.
“He can definitely run the football,” Gill said, “and we’ll see where he fits in and earns his playing time.”
Richardson will likely compete for the starting job with former Liberty Christian Academy standout Desmond Rice, who was listed at the top of the post-spring practice depth chart.
The Newport News native will be eligible for the 2013 season and has two years of athletic eligibility remaining. He elected to transfer from Virginia back in mid-May after falling to third on UVa's post-spring running back depth chart.
When Virginia coach Mike London announced that Richardson was seeking to transfer, he stated in a press release that Richardson was leaving in "good academic standing."
Richardson played in 13 games as a true freshman with the Cavaliers and only played in seven contests as a sophomore while battling a leg injury. He finished with 425 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 96 carries.