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Top juco recruit reverses field, picks Tigers

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been committed to Lane Kiffin and USC for the past month, but told the Columbia Tribune on Tuesday that he'd be signing on Wednesday, just not who he'd be signing with.

"Nope, what’s the fun in that?" he said.

Richardson picked the Tigers on Wednesday, signing his letter of intent and barring final exam troubles, hopes to transfer from his junior college in California to Missouri in January, presumably to take part in spring practice.

Richardson, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound St. Louis native who was rated among the top prospects in the 2009 class, originally signed with Missouri in 2009 but failed to qualify academically. Two years later, he's the nation's No. 3 overall junior college prospect, and looks headed back to Missouri at the end of a bizarre recruitment soap opera.

Missouri finally proved it could beat one of the Big 12's powers when it knocked off Oklahoma earlier this year, but putting athletes like Richardson along the line of scrimmage could help the Tigers do it more often. The win over the Sooners in October was the first over Texas or Oklahoma for Gary Pinkel, who had previously lost his first 11 meetings combined with the pair.

Considering the Tigers will see both teams every year -- though Texas is obviously down -- in a new round-robin schedule in the 10-team Big 12, Pinkel had to be glad to see Richardson as his first member of the 2011 class.