February 06, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Versatile JMU offensive lineman Dominick Richards chasing NFL dream
Dominick Richards was a high school quarterback and basketball player. He was a tight end for three years at James Madison, and then an offensive tackle. Now, he's a center making a bid for the NFL.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound converted tight end shifted from offensive tackle to center for his senior season as the Dukes ranked second in the nation in scoring offense and total offense with 44.3 points and 528.8 yards per game.
"I love playing center," said Richards, who's represented by Kris Yangas and Jonathan Howard. "It was an interesting transition. I was recruited to play tight end, played it for three years. A new staff took over, some kids quit and the coaches said, 'You're smart, understand the offense, put on 30 pounds.' The rest of my junior year I played guard, then tackle.
"I don't have a preference, especially at the next level, you can't have a preference. They'll move you where they want to have you. I feel pretty comfortable at center."
The Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania native was an academic all-star and all-district selection who started every game as a senior. As a sophomore, Richards caught four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Richards' goal for his Pro Day is to put on roughly 10 pounds, "bulking up the right way."
"My mentality is to try to get as much exposure as possible, turn some heads," Richards said. "I played on a team that had a successful year. I'm trying to prove to other people I belong and can do some good things at the next level.
"I was just converted to the offensive line. I think that could really help my case. I expect to turn some heads and get a shot. If I don't get a shot, I'm blessed academically to have some good fallback options."
A health sciences major, Richards played in a fast-paced offense.
"We called a play like every 20 seconds," Richards said. "That helps you break down a front in a short time span."
Richards played in the College Gridiron Showcase all-star game. He spoke with the Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders.
"It went very well," Richards said. "I got myself out there and showed I can play. I played well."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle