3DownNation top 100 players: No. 73 DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Shaquille Richardson has spent a lot of time bouncing around from team to team.

Richardson originally committed to UCLA, located 500 kilometres down the west coast from his hometown of Oakland. He was dismissed by the Bruins in July 2010 after he was caught stealing a purse with two other freshmen, one of whom was future second-round NFL draft pick Paul Richardson — Shaquille’s cousin.

He transferred to the University of Arizona where he wasted no time making an impact, recording 29 total tackles, seven knockdowns, two interceptions and one forced fumble in 13 games. The six-foot, 190-pound cover man became a full-time starter as a sophomore and led the entire Pac-12 that season with four interceptions.

Richardson finished his NCAA career with 186 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, 16 knockdowns, ten interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one touchdown. Naturally, pro scouts took notice.

Selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Richardson appeared primed for a successful career down south. That never materialized as the cornerback was released as part of final cuts in his first training camp.

Richardson has technically been a member of six different NFL teams — Pittsburgh (2014), Kansas City (2015), Arizona (2015), Tennessee (2015-2016), Carolina (2016), and Las Vegas (2018). He never dressed for a regular season game, spending most of his time on practice rosters.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed Richardson briefly between NFL stops in May 2015, though he released to return to the United States. He didn’t dress for his first CFL game until the following year as a member of the Calgary Stampeders.

Richardson played two seasons with the Stamps (2016-2017), totaling 74 tackles, four interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble, and one touchdown. He had the coverage skills required to start at cornerback or halfback, but also the physicality needed to play strong-side linebacker. He could do it all.

After his stint with the Raiders — and a stop with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF — Richardson joined the Argos late in 2019. He appeared in three games, making eight tackles, one forced fumble, and a pick-six. Toronto clearly felt impressed by his play, signing him to a contract extension in January 2020.

Argos re-sign defensive back Shaq Richardson

Richardson remains under contract for 2021 and could slot-in at a number of different positions in Toronto’s defence. The Argos are a team in transition, but this 28-year-old is a player around whom the team can build its secondary.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.