Nu'Keese Richardson (7)
Sept. 18, 2009
They were right. And wrong.
The two freshmen wide receivers will make their debut in The Swamp on Saturday, but they'll be playing for Tennessee, not Florida.
"Me and Nu'Keese laugh about the situation," says Teague. "We both committed there, and we were going to be roommates there. Then we both came here, and we're roommates here. Now we've got to go down there and play them. We kind of laugh about it."
It is a funny story.
Richardson, a speedy receiver from Pahokee, Fla., was one of Florida's first commitments for the class of 2009. He met Teague for the first time last fall, when Teague was taking in Florida's game at home against LSU.
They became fast friends, and eventually Teague committed to play for the Gators as well.
"I started talking to him, and I ended up committing," Teague said. "He was like, `You got a roommate.' "
Only unbeknownst to the other, each was having second thoughts about Florida.
Richardson's aunt suggested a visit to Tennessee. Teague's parents pushed him to give in-state Tennessee another look after Lane Kiffin took over as head.
Richardson loved Kiffin's confidence.
"His confidence level is beyond, beyond what you'd expect," Richardson said. "I love his confidence level. That's one of the main things I love about him."
Teague felt a different energy than in his previous trips to Knoxville, including an unofficial visit to last year's Florida game.
"I came to Knoxville before, and I liked it and what not, but when I came up here for my official visit with the new coaching staff, the energy just felt completely different," Teague said. "I got a way different vibe about the situation. When I came up with the new staff, it felt like a completely different place."
Driving home to Paris, Tenn., Teague told his parents he just might wind up going to Tennessee. Richardson had no idea, though, until Teague sent him a text message a few weeks later.
That's when Richardson told Teague he was having second thoughts about Florida and that Tennessee was moving up his list.
"He was like, `I might end up going to Tennessee,'" Teague said. "I was like, `For real? Then I might just see you down there.'"
Fans have seen plenty of both this season, too.
Teague had six catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in the Vols' opener and has started both games at receiver. Richardson, meanwhile, has taken over punt return duties and is averaging 9 yards per return in his first two games.
Now Teague and Richardson are headed down to Gainesville for their first game in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Teague knows he'll be booed - "I'm sure the fans are probably going to boo, but they're going to boo the whole team," he said, smiling -- and maybe even singled out as a former Gators commitment.
But one of the things Teague and his roommate laugh about is how much worse the reception might be for Richardson.
"That's what I've been messing with him about," Teague said, laughing. "It's worse on you because you're from Florida and you'd been committed there for a long time. I jumped on late and then kind of backed off. And I'm from Tennessee.
"Those people ain't going to fault me too much, but they're going to get at you."