The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

From the Bay to LA: Alum Jaden Richardson Fulfills Dreams of Playing Football at USC

Jaden Richardson (second from right) stands with his family on his visit to USC. Photo courtesy of Richardson

Growing up as a USC fan, Menlo alum Jaden Richarson (‘20) always dreamed of playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the Trojans. On Jan. 2, 2024 Richardson made his dream a reality when he announced his intention to transfer from Tufts University to the University of Southern California to play football, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining. “[USC] was my dream school growing up,” Richardson said. “To have the opportunity to play there was super special.”

Starring as a wide receiver and free safety for Menlo, Richardson was named to the 2019 Pacific Athletic League first team. In the fall of his senior year, Richardson committed to play Division III football at Tufts University in the Boston area. “I never thought I would end up on the East Coast, but experiencing a different part of the country and people was great,” he said. 

Although his freshman season was canceled due to COVID-19, Richardson continued to develop and improve as a receiver for the Jumbos. After his junior season, Richardson began considering the idea of transferring as the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility to all college athletes coming out of the pandemic. “I knew I was going to have to take care of business [in my senior year] before I was given those opportunities ahead.”

For his senior season, Richardson’s younger brother and Menlo alumn Ty Richardson (‘23) also moved from the Bay Area to Tufts to play as a cornerback. “One of the reasons I chose to come to Tufts was to play with him,” Richardson said. “It was so much fun to be around him during my freshman year.”

In his senior year at Tufts, Richardson led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, earning all conference honors. With his breakout season, Richardson’s 20 career touchdowns broke Tufts’ all time touchdown reception record. 

After much consideration, Richardson decided to enter the transfer portal in search of making a jump to the DI level. In the portal, Richardson garnered attention from major power five programs such as Washington, Cal, Wisconsin and Utah. “Once his recruiting took off it was like the sky was the limit,” Richardson’s younger brother Ty said. 

Richardson made it his goal to remain grounded throughout the hectic transfer portal process. “College football is a business,” he said. “[Teams] are going to make the best decisions for themselves, but you have to make the best decision for you.”

Despite originally committing to Cal, USC made an offer to Richardson days later and he flipped to the Trojans on Jan. 2. “I wanted to make sure I was able to get a graduate degree that matters, go somewhere I want to be and get to play ball,” Richardson said. “At the end of the day I think [USC] is the right place for me.”

Menlo Varsity Football Head Coach Todd Smith, who coached Richardson, was impressed by his remarkable success. “I’m incredibly proud of him, knowing how hard he worked and am grateful that I was able to coach him,” he said. In addition, Smith hopes stories like Richardson’s send an important message of encouragement to Menlo student athletes. “Don’t constrict or put limits on yourself,” Smith said. “Just do everything you can to be the best version of yourself and everything else will fall into place.” 

Richardson believes Menlo played an influential role in shaping the player and person he is today. “Menlo did a great job of setting me up with the opportunities to help me get to where I am now,” he said.

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About the Contributor
Asher Darling
Asher Darling, News Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: The freedom to explore topics that interest me through my passion for writing and collaborating with the rest of the COA staff

Interests outside of school: Basketball, traveling, spending time with friends and family

Class of 2026

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