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Richmond signs on the dotted line

February 07, 2002

Richmond signs on the dotted line



HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> South star will wear Maryland red

By MARK KELLER
keller@herald-mail.com


The formalities are over, and perhaps now Domonique Richmond can get a good night's sleep.

The South Hagerstown senior was a bundle of nerves Wednesday morning as a crowd of coaches, classmates, media and boosters gathered in the lobby of the South gymnasium, but he steadied his right hand long enough to sign a national letter of intent to play football at the University of Maryland in the fall.

Richmond's hand was visibly shaking - and at one point he said aloud, "I'm nervous" - as he became the first South player since Mike Hull in the mid-1990s to sign with the Terrapins.

When the signing was finished, Richmond's face lit up with a smile as he breathed a sigh of relief.

"I tossed and turned last night and I thought about it. It's just signing a piece of paper," Richmond said. "But I never had to write my name like this before."

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A lot has changed since Richmond gave his verbal commitment to the Terrapins last June. Maryland was coming off of a 5-6 season and new head coach Ralph Friedgen was looking to rebuild the program, using Richmond's recruiting class as the foundation.

Instead, Richmond will not be coming in on the ground floor. The Terrapins were the biggest surprise in college football in 2001, going 10-1 in the regular season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference and earning a spot in the Orange Bowl.

"It was really exciting to watch them this year," Richmond said. "Seeing that made me work a lot harder in practice and in the weight room."

Richmond's hard work paid off for the Rebels. He led South to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1989-90. He threw for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for another nine scores - all in just eight games. He missed two games for disciplinary reasons, which he chalked up as a learning experience.

"He's a competitor, and when you have to sit games out, it hurts," said South coach Greg Kellick. "Dom worked hard to overcome that and kind of get back in good graces with the team."

Maryland's sudden reversal of fortune did not change Richmond's status with the school. Kellick said Maryland defensive coach Gary Blackney visited South Hagerstown before the Orange Bowl and assured Richmond he was in the team's plans.

"Blackney said whether Dom had verbaled or not, they still would have been recruiting him," Kellick said. "They can recruit on a national level now, but they still want Dom to be there."

Exactly where Richmond fits into those plans remains to be seen. His speed and versatility made him a two-way threat - at quarterback and defensive back - in high school, but he's not yet sure on which side of the ball he'll line up in college.

"At this point, I just want to play," Richmond said. "I'll go down in June as soon as graduation is over and start working out with the team. Whatever side they want me on, I'll do it."

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