Family atmosphere leads Richards to stay home

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Family is important to the Richards family. Ottawa High School senior Jose Richards knew he wanted to be a part of college football program with a family atmosphere.

Richards received several offers and made official visits.

“You start talking with coaches and developing relationships with them,” Richards said. “Building relationships is the big thing.”

Ottawa senior Jose Richards celebrated his signing with Ottawa University with his family, teammates and friends Wednesday at Ottawa Community Church. His family included parents, Michelle and Jeff Richards and sister, Marissa and brother, Josh.

Richards did not have to look far for that family atmosphere. The Cyclone receiver signed with Ottawa University Wednesday night at a ceremony at Ottawa Community Church.

“OU felt like a family,” Richards said. “All the coaches were super cool. Coach [Jordan] Dodge said that he wanted to keep [local] talent here at home. I have lived here my whole life. When he said that, it made me think this is where I should be.”

Richards grew up following the Braves attending games.

“Watching them come out of the helmet with the smoke, I thought I wanted to do that one day,” Richards said. “When I was offered and given the chance to play, I gave it a hard consideration. I gave it a lot of prayer after our visit. I felt like this is where I should be.”

Richards likes the uptempo and wide-open style coach Kent Kessinger runs.

“I remember watching Clarence Anderson and all those guys were beasts,” Richards said. “They were giving the opportunities to make plays. I thought that was the coolest thing. I was hoping I can do that one day.”

Richards said at first he was set on leaving Ottawa to attend college, but the lure of playing for the hometown school won him over.

“ They value all their players,” Richards said. “You are not in a relationship with your position coach, you know every coach has your back. That family connection to me is what drove me to OU.

“This is where I need to be. I can make an impact from day one.”