Colorado coach says WR Paul Richardson has NFL ability

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Colorado's final home game of the season is Saturday vs. USC and, based on comments head coach Mike MacIntyre made Tuesday at his weekly press conference, it might well be the last home game for redshirt junior wide receiver Paul Richardson before declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft.

"I definitely think Paul can play at the next level," said MacIntyre, a former defensive backs coach with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. "He has to decide what's best for him and his family and all the different things that he has going on and what's best for him physically, too. We'll see how that works out."

Richardson, a redshirt junior who played alongside Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at Gardena (Calif.) Serra, has caught 71 passes for 1,201 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Richardson (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his ACL in spring practice, but does not seem to have lost any of his speed, establishing himself as one of the most dangerous big-play receivers in college football with seven touchdown receptions of 53 yards or longer this season. Richardson ranks fourth in the FBS with 120 receiving yards per game, posting two of his three career 200-yard games to open this season.

Richardson has 12 receptions of 50 yards or longer in 32 career games, while his 20 touchdown catches cover an average of 41.8 yards.

Having recovered from one serious injury might make Richardson more likely to forego his final season of eligibility. Richardson has also been limited by a sprained ankle this season, but looked to be back at full strength when he caught 11 passes for 140 yards against California last week.

"I'm not going to try to twist his arm either way," MacIntyre said. "It's his decision on what he wants to do."

Richardson will have to get bigger to withstand the punishment NFL defensive backs can dish out, but his ability to deliver game-changing plays cannot be questioned.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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