Richard Yeargin III is 6-4 and weighs 225 pounds, yet his father and brother of the same namesake say the Davie University School defensive lineman is terrified of a familiar creature native to South Florida.
“My son, as big as he is, lizards… He don’t like lizards,” Richard Yeargin Sr. said. “If you put a lizard around him, you’ll see him act like a different person.”
Added Richard Yeargin Jr.: “I don’t know actually when he became afraid of lizards because when he was little, he had no problem. I don’t know if he woke up one day and it just messed him up or something.”
Well, sort of.
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“I don’t like the way they look at me; I just don’t,” Yeargin III said. “I used to play with them all the time. But when I got older, I realized iguanas took over, so that’s what I’m afraid of – iguanas.
“Let’s get that fact straight. I’d throw a rock at them or something if I see them. I go nowhere near them.”
Yeargin III, a Notre Dame commitment, was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey on Wednesday at his school in front of his family members, coaches and teammates. He will play in one of the nation’s premier high school football all-star games in San Antonio on Jan. 4, 2014.
“Over all the years, of the accomplishments I’ve received, I feel like this is the biggest yet,” he said “Playing for the U.S. Army, in front of the U.S. Army is an honor. It’s something no one can take from you no matter where you go in life.”
Yeargin and his teammates are coming off of their first loss in 19 games to Bradenton Manatee last Friday, but still have their eyes set on finishing this season in the national championship discussion with games against Miami Central to end the regular season, and a possible state title matchup in Class 4A with Miami Booker T. Washington.
While Yeargin has his eyes set on finishing his senior season on a high note, a much bigger decision still looms until National Signing Day.
Yeargin committed to Notre Dame during the first week of August, about a week after he tried to commit to Florida, but was told the Gators’ coaching staff was holding out for another player at the position.
Yeargin took his official visit to South Bend, Ind., on Oct. 19 when the Irish hosted Southern California and rumors got out he was in contact with the USC coaching staff.
“I haven’t contacted USC since I’ve visited last summer,” he said. “As for me, trying to latch onto them or make them want me, that wasn’t the case.”
Yeargin said he has kept his relationships with other schools professional during his recruitment. Of his top five schools he narrowed down to — Notre Dame, Florida, Clemson, Michigan and USC — only Clemson seems to have a legitimate chance at flipping the All-American.
The Yeargins are originally from South Carolina, and Yeargin’s father said Clemson’s winning history, and being one of the schools to first recruit his son when he was in 10th grade are reason the Tigers are still under consideration.
“There are some strong feelings notionally there, but bottom line is that we’re trying to make a decision that’s best for him both academically and professionally,” said Yeargin Sr. “We’ve narrowed it down to really those two.”
Despite the notions, the Yeargins’ visit to South Bend resonated with Yeargin Sr., who said his son has “very positive feelings about Notre Dame.”
“Everyone was excited to have him there,” said Yeargin Sr. “He got a lot of love from the crowd when he got out of the limousine [on campus], they were like ‘We love you Richard! Thank you for coming here!’ It’s almost like it was scripted, but it worked.”
As for the Army All-American, Yeargin III said “Clemson weighs a lot on me because of the ties I have in South Carolina, but I’m comfortable with where I’m at.”
“I feel [South Bend] a place I can fit in and it’s a place I can do exceptional things, and become someone who is the face of the Notre Dame program,” he said. “My value with them is at the utmost high.
“That’s why there is a National Signing Day, and right now, I’m committed to Notre Dame.”