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OSU football: Dominic Richardson 'shocked' to land with Cowboys after TCU put him 'in a big hole'

Former McGuinness star Dominic Richardson enrolled at OSU on Thursday and moved onto campus. He said he underwent coronavirus testing Friday. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]
Former McGuinness star Dominic Richardson enrolled at OSU on Thursday and moved onto campus. He said he underwent coronavirus testing Friday. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

STILLWATER — Dominic Richardson felt he had no options.

In late May, the recent McGuinness graduate’s time with TCU ended before it began. He was granted a full release, but with no plan of where he could play college football.

Recruiting classes across the country were primarily full, even for a three-star running back oozing with talent.

Still, he had to try. Richardson reached out to several programs hoping there was an opening.

Some responded. Most didn’t.

“I was in a big hole and I had to dig myself out of it,” Richardson said.

Richardson tried to remain upbeat, even as the search stretched longer and longer. He reminded himself as one door shuts, another one opens.

And Oklahoma State was behind Door No. 2.

Nearly two months after Richardson was forced away from TCU, he landed with the Cowboys this week ready to move forward. He’s a strong fit for a program known to develop running backs and the final piece for the 2020 recruiting class.

“I’m really shocked still that I got this opportunity,” Richardson told The Oklahoman. “It was meant to be.”

Richardson, known as “Nic Nic,” is just the second running back in the Cowboys’ recruiting class. He’s joined by Tulsa Kelley’s Zach Middleton, who was labeled an athlete but was primarily talked about as a running back by coach Mike Gundy.

But Richardson brings the most punch.

At McGuinness, Richardson helped the Irish reach the Class 5A state title game three times. As a senior, he rushed for 1,719 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He’s also 6 feet and 205 pounds, nearly an identical build to Cowboys star Chuba Hubbard. Richardson gushed about his new teammate, but also with an eye to the future.

“I think it would be good work for me, training with him and learning his game style,” Richardson said. “I feel like we have similarities.

“By next year, I hope I can take over. I’m ready to compete and work my butt off and just get better.”

Until recently, Richardson eyed himself competing against Hubbard and the Cowboys.

He signed with TCU in December. Coaches told him he would be the lone running back in the class.

Running backs coach Curtis Luper then left. Bryan Applewhite took over, but Richardson said he never developed a strong relationship with his new coach.

TCU added running back Kendre Miller in February. And five-star running back Zach Evans — the highest-rated recruit ever for the Horned Frogs — enrolled on May 11.

Richardson, who had yet to move to Fort Worth, Texas, found out through media reports.

“My feelings toward it was Dominic committed to TCU, I felt that TCU didn’t commit completely to him,” said Dominic’s mom, Danita. “I stressed to Dominic when he got a little bit discouraged about going somewhere else what a commitment meant. You stick with it. Dominic stuck it through and kept his word. But TCU, there was total miscommunication toward the end.

“They moved on without Dominic and Dominic didn’t know. He was the last one to find out. I feel like (coach Gary) Patterson could have at least given him a call to give him a heads up on it. He never bothered to call him and I feel like that was a lack of respect for Dominic.”

TCU was also skeptical of Richardson’s academics. With the COVID-19 pandemic, his options to improve his test scores were limited. He said he is now clear at OSU.

Danita said a TCU coach told Dominic that he could stay home and report in January, effectively grayshirting him. Or he could have his full release.

He chose to look elsewhere.

“I thought they didn’t have any trust in me,” Dominic said. “I felt kinda disrespected and I didn’t like that. So I was like, ‘I don’t know if I wanted to be part of a program like that.’ I just wanted to back out and take another route.”

Within two weeks, OSU running backs coach John Wozniak was working hard to bring Dominic to Stillwater.

Wozniak had remained in touch with Dominic throughout his early recruitment, even attending the Class 5A title game knowing Dominic was headed to TCU.

“I just had a connection with him,” Dominic said. “He really cared about me. I just really felt that love from him.

“That’s how it fell into place.”

Ultimately, OSU didn’t have a scholarship open until the recent retirement of offensive lineman Dylan Galloway. It wasn’t long until Dominic and OSU made everything work.

Dominic enrolled on Thursday and moved onto campus. He said he underwent coronavirus testing Friday.

And all was right in his world.

“You could tell he was trying to hold it together,” Danita said. “We were just kinda hoping that everything turned out well. But I’m very happy right now with him going to OSU and being an hour away from home.

“We’re trying to be real positive about the whole thing. We were upset about it, but life goes on. A door closes and another one opens.”

Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›