Richardson thinks of mother, daughters when turning pro

This is the story for today’s newspaper about the NFL decisions made by Alabama juniors on Thursday.

TUSCALOOSA — Never again will Katrina Richardson work a restaurant shift or house sit.

She’ll be taken care of for life now.

Her son Trent Richardson made sure of it Thursday afternoon when Alabama’s leading running back and Heisman Trophy finalist announced he will leave school early to enter the NFL draft. Fellow junior Dre Kirkpatrick, a cornerback, and linebacker Dont’a Hightower came to the same conclusion, while safety Robert Lester will return for a final Crimson Tide season.

For Richardson, a projected top-10 pick, the decision came down to helping his family, which includes two young daughters. He wants to be somewhere he can see his kids every day and to pay back his mother, who’s fighting lupus.

“I know it’s been hard for my momma to be my momma and my daddy at the same time,” Richardson said. “When it came down to it, it took a toll on me to make sure my momma didn’t have to work no more. I’m pretty sure my grandmomma will still work. She unretired and went back to driving a city bus again.”

Though Richardson’s decision was long expected, he said the final call didn’t come until Wednesday night.

“This place changed my life,” Richardson said. “It turned me into a man. … I never thought I’d be in college playing football. In three years, or two and a half years, I almost have my college degree. That’s big for me, man. As a young man, my brother left home and went to school, and I always said I wanted to be just like him.”

He hopes to finish the few classes needed for a degree this spring by taking online courses.

Kirkpatrick, also a member of the 2009 recruiting class, is close to getting his degree as well.

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