By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(Feb. 14, 2014) – Stone Bridge High School senior Richard Xu has signed his National Letter of Intent to join the James Madison University football program starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
“I feel free, and I feel like I can enjoy the rest of my senior year,” said the 6-foot-5 Xu. “I chose JMU because when I went to the games and toured the campus I just felt at home. I felt like I belonged here. It was also the first collage that I had ever attended a football camp at so it felt right to come to the university that got me to love the sport of football.”
Xu’s passion for the game was one reason the offensive linemen plays football; another was all of the nonbelievers who told him he would never succeed.
“I was told I couldn’t be good at football. I wanted to play in college because I was told I couldn’t do it,” Xu said.
In less than six months, Xu will get to travel down to Harrisonburg to put on purple and gold for the Division I Dukes new head coach Everett Withers. Withers collegiate coaching experience ranges from being the defensive coordinator at Louisville and Ohio State to the head coach at North Carolina. The 50-year old also has experience coaching in the NFL where he served as an assistant for both the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans.
Withers and Xu look to turn around the Dukes 6-6 season which included a 3-5 record in the Colonial Athletic Association and a 0-5 record on the road. Fortunately the 2014 Dukes get a chance to make a statement right away as they open their season on the road at College Park against the Maryland Terrapins on Aug. 30.
“I will add my knowledge of football and my competitive attitude of always wanting to win,” Xu said.
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Xu – under head coach Mickey Thompson – helped lead the Stone Bridge Bulldogs to a 9-3 season in 2013.
“It has been a real eye-opening experience. Coach Thompson always strives for us to get everything 100-percent right the first time,” Xu said. “It was a pretty fun and enjoyable experience.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!