The Backstory: As we continue in our Sun Devil Legend Series, we get to one of the best defensive backs in school history. He is one of only three, two-time consensus All-Americans in Arizona State history, dominating the Pac-10 in the early 80's.
This player was named All-Pac-10 four times as a Sun Devil and went on to have a very successful NFL career. He roamed the Arizona State secondary from 1979-1982 and his name is Mike Richardson.
The Player: Mike Richardson (1979-1982)
Richardson stepped onto campus in 1979 and had an immediate impact in his freshman season. He was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 that season as ASU went just 6-6 in Frank Kush's final season as head coach.
In 1980, Richardson made the second team All-Pac-10 selection under head coach Daryl Rodgers as he guided Arizona State to a 7-4 record including a 44-7 pounding of Arizona. Richardson tallied a team-high eight interceptions that season, earning him honorable mention All-American status from the Associated Press.
As a junior, Richardson had a breakout season. He once again led Arizona State in interceptions with six and he was named a consensus All-American, just the sixth player in school history to accomplish that feat at the time.
Richardson earned first team All-Pac-10 honors that season, as Arizona State finished with a 9-2 record and another victory over Arizona.
As a team captain in 1982, Richardson finished the season with 127 total tackles. He was once again named a consensus All-American, becoming just the second player in school history to accomplish the feat twice (Woody Green is the other). He was also a two-time Playboy Magazine All-American, the first Sun Devil to accomplish that.
Richardson helped Arizona State football get back into national prominence, as in 1982 they defeated Oklahoma to win the 1983 Fiesta Bowl. In his final two years, Arizona State went 19-4.
In the Pros
Richardson was taken in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He spent six season as a member of the vaunted Bears defense under Buddy Ryan.
He was a member of Chicago's 1985 Super Bowl team and was named an All-Pro in 1986. He spend 1989 with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring.
Steve Holden - The three-time All-WAC selection, Holden led the nation in punt returns in 1970. In 1972, he averaged 22.9 yards per reception for the Sun Devils and he set a school record with 12 touchdown receptions that season. Holden averaged over 19 yards per punt return in his ASU career and totaled 1,120 punt return yards while at Arizona State.