If Gophers defensive tackle Steven Richardson were 2 inches taller, everybody in the country would have recruited him, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said this week.

Instead, Richardson had just three scholarship offers coming out of Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School — from Western Michigan, Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

Richardson, generously listed on the Gophers roster at 6 feet, started 12 games in 2014 as a true freshman. Last week at Colorado State, he posted seven tackles (three for loss), one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.

“If he plays like that every week, he’ll be a first-team All-American,” coach Jerry Kill said. “I mean, he’s a beast to handle right now. I compare him to the Donald kid who was at Pittsburgh.”

That would be Aaron Donald, a consensus All-America in 2013 and a first-round pick by the Rams last year (No. 14) who went on to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Asked if his performance at Colorado State led to any recognition around campus, Richardson admitted it did.

“My philosophy teacher definitely noticed,” he said. “She came up to me and said, ‘How do you feel about Coach Kill saying you played an All-American game?’ I was in awe that she was even paying attention. But yeah, a couple people been coming up to me saying I had a pretty good game.”

The Gophers would gladly take another one Saturday against Kent State.

JOE CHRISTENSEN