Thursday, February 11, 2016

JSU, NFL legend — Richardson remembered

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Before Willie L. Richardson Jr. left his imprint on Jackson State University, before he made his mark in the National Football League, the young wide receiver from Coleman High School in Greenville made an impression on other high schools boys in a game against Lanier High School in 1959.

That’s when retired NFL player Noland Smith said he knew he wanted to play football.

Smith said he went to that game to see the band and convince his mother to buy him a trumpet.

After seeing Richardson play, Smith told his mother, “I don’t want you to buy me a trumpet. I want to play football.”

“Willie was a one-man show that day,” Smith said of Richardson, who scored six touchdowns. “He was my biggest inspiration.”

Richardson, an NFL Pro-Bowler and member of the JSU Hall of Fame, SWAC Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, sports broadcaster/commentator and avid golfer, died Monday of natural causes at his home in Northwest Jackson. He was 76.


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