South Carolina standout Tavin Richardson might just be Kentucky's biggest remaining recruiting target at wide receiver. If that's the case, the feeling is mutual.
Richardson — his first name is pronounced "Tay-vin" — recently announced his top five schools going into the fall. He told the Herald-Leader late last week that UK is No. 1 on that list.
UK wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord is his primary recruiter and has been to northwestern South Carolina more than five times to see Richardson at his high school. Offensive coordinator Neal Brown has made multiple visits, and UK Coach Mark Stoops stays in regular contact with the class of 2015 prospect.
"I feel like I've got the best relationship with them, and that's why they're No. 1 on my list," Richardson said. "I see that (Mainord) is a great guy and very passionate about what he does and who he coaches. And he just loves the game of football.
"I have the best relationship with him. That's of (coaches at) all the schools."
Richardson ranked Central Florida No. 2 on his list and gave a glowing review of his recent visit to that campus. He said Louisville would be No. 3 at the moment. Nebraska and Virginia Tech are also in his top five.
Some of the major recruiting websites list Richardson as a tight end, though he said every school on his list is recruiting him as a wide receiver, especially Kentucky.
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound prospect plays primarily in the slot for his high school team, and his size could be a matchup problem for defenders at the next level.
Richardson has excellent pass-catching skills to match. He had 63 receptions for 836 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, and he claims he had only one or two drops during the season. One of his goals for this fall is zero drops.
"I'm a big receiver and a physical guy. I can go up and get the ball and catch anything around me," he said. "They like how I can use my size to get open. They say I would fit perfectly in their offense. My high school runs the same kind of offense that they run and I play the same position that they want me to play."
Rivals.com ranks Richardson as the No. 15 tight end in the class and has him in the highest tier of three-star prospects. He would be ranked in the 40-65 range nationally at wide receiver.
It doesn't sound as though the UK coaches need any help with Richardson's recruitment, but they're still getting a little aid from freshman wide receiver Blake Bone, another South Carolina native. Richardson said he and Bone have played against each other since middle school and turned into friends along the way.
Bone, along with Stoops, Brown and Mainord, have been in Richardson's ear about the UK program, though he's not planning on making a college decision anytime soon.
Richardson's high school team started practicing last Friday and he wants to take all five of his official visits before announcing a commitment, which he said might not come until after the season.
He's already made two unofficial visits to Lexington and came away impressed. In the meantime, he'll continue to listen to the UK recruiting pitch.
"(Stoops) told me that I fit perfectly for their offense and that I'm their No. 1 target," Richardson said. "They're trying to get a high-tempo offense and they need more depth in their receiving corps to do that. They say I have a great chance to come in and play right away."