Don’t let his size fool you. Despite being listed at just 5-ft. 9-in. and 226 lbs. on the Bearkat football roster, senior defensive back Byran Richmond has put many nasty hits on opposing players during his time at Sam Houston State, and it’s become rare to see a defensive play without Richmond somewhere in the middle of it.
Just ask Nicholls State running back Zach Morgan, who felt Richmond’s wrath when he was stopped on a run for the end zone. The hit Richmond initiated on Morgan prompted the formation of a YouTube highlight compilation featuring a variety of nothing but big plays made by Richmond this season.
“I thrive on it, I love it,” Richmond said. “It’s not like every time I see someone running with the ball I have to make a big hit; I want to make the tackle first. Sometimes it just turns out to be a big hit. Hitting gets the crowd to say “oooh” and “ahhh” and that’s my favorite part of playing defense.”
Known as “B-Rich” by his teammates – a nickname initially created for him back in high school – Richmond may not fall under the clich as being the “heart and soul of the defense,” but he can certainly be considered the leader. Yet even with his play-making reputation and notoriety as the hard hitter on the team, Richmond remains humble about his status among the Bearkat players.
“I’m very vocal,” Richmond said. “I talk a lot and of course I play physically, so I show up and lead physically too.”
While acting as the encouraging voice on the field for his teammates, Richmond also lets his play do the talking. Despite missing a game, Richmond leads the conference in tackles with 78 on the season, including 6 for loss, followed by teammate Nolan Bucek with 76.
His ascension as one of the better defensive players in the conference has come along way for the Humble High School graduate, who chose Sam Houston State over other colleges including Texas State.
“The players,” Richmond said of his reasons for choosing to attend SHSU. “Whenever I came out here to visit with Coach Randleman I felt at home. I felt really comfortable here.”
The style he plays has brought back memories of another former SHSU standout, Keith Davis who is currently a special teams player for the Dallas Cowboys.
“I saw a highlight tape from an older player when I got here, but I have never had a chance to meet him,” Richmond said. “I have heard a lot of good things about him, and from what I have seen on TV about him, I can believe it. When people compare me to him, I feel good that someone would compare me to a player at his caliber and I feel lucky.”
Reflecting on his career as a Bearkat, Richmond ventures back to his freshman year and one of his crowning achievements when Sam Houston State won the Southland Conference.
“My freshman year, I had two interceptions in a game,” Richmond said. “It was a late non-conference game and we were playing Northern Colorado. It was the second-to-last game of the season and they were staying with us, and I ended up with two interceptions and that really helped us. One of them led to a touchdown, the other one clinched the game for us. That has to be one of my favorite moments.”