BY GENE NARDI
In November, Wellington High School receiver Ahmmon Richards was selected by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Committee to participate in its annual all-star bowl game.
The U.S. Army has sponsored the pinnacle event of high school all-star games across the nation since 1985. The game has been played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas since 2002. The star-studded match-up between the East and West teams draws 40,000 fans every year and is broadcast live on national television.
Last week, Richards headed to San Antonio to meet his teammates of the East. A total of 12 players were selected from Florida, with Richards the only player from Palm Beach County. His selection has certainly placed Wellington on the radar as an area that can produce top athletes to compete at a national level.
“This is very close to a dream come true,” Richards said. “I’ve watched this on TV, and now being on the field, and part of it, it’s awesome.”
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Richards is a four-star receiver and has earned a place as one of the nation’s top wide receivers, which explains his selection for the prestigious all-star bowl game roster.
Richards, along with the rest of the 100 athletes from across the country, spent a week networking, making friends, training and participated in several community service events throughout the San Antonio area with members of the U.S. Army.
The weeklong event encouraged the model student athletes to focus on their education, giving back to the community and maintaining sound values. Speakers who provided words of wisdom and guidance spent time with the college prospects, such as Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown. All-pro Hall of Fame inductees Shannon Sharpe and Anthony Muñoz were also on hand to provide motivation.
The grand finale took place on Saturday afternoon with East vs. West in the Alamodome in front of nearly 40,000 fans, including many members of the U.S. Army. The East fell to the West 37-9, but it was clear concluding the contest that more had been achieved. A camaraderie had been established by these young men from both ends of the nation.
Richards is a senior and will graduate in the spring. He has 22 Division I offers, with Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Miami atop his long list. Richards’ accomplishments on and off the field are impressive. He maintains a 3.6 GPA and has twice earned Player of the Year.
In 2014, Richards helped lead the Wolverines to a school-best 11-2 record, a district title and a Class 8A regional finals appearance. Richards combined the last two seasons for 2,722 receiving yards and 39 touchdowns. He totaled 126 receptions, and this season helped his team to a 6-5 record, district runner-up and regional quarterfinal appearance.
Richards played under the guidance of Wellington coach Tom Abel. “I didn’t do anything; Ahmmon did it all,” Abel said of his star receiver. “Words can’t say enough. We’re very proud of him.”
Richards is undecided on where he will continue his football career and education, but said he will make a decision on national signing day, set for Wednesday, Feb. 3.
ABOVE: Wellington’s Ahmmon Richards and coach Tom Abel after the game in the Alamodome.