Meet ASU football's 'Baby Beast Mode,' Demario Richard

The sophomore running back is poised for a breakout season and out to shed age label

During the 2014 ASU football season, it became commonplace for broadcasters and national media, to mention then-freshman running back Demario Richard's age with everything that he did.

Whether it was rushing for 116 yards on 14 carries against Utah or punching in the game-clinching score against Notre Dame, only one number stuck out — 17.

Demario Richard, now 18 years old and entering his sophomore season, said he is tired of it.

"(Labels) are up to (the media)," Richard said. "I just know y'all are going to see some excitement from me. You guys can find a way. I always do something exciting every game so you'll find a way."

While a freshman, Richard rushed for 478 yards and four touchdowns last season, adding 156 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver.

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By Ben Moffat | The State Press

Freshman running back Demario Richard runs the ball in a game against the University of Arizona, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson. ASU will have to focus on running the ball against Duke in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 27. (Photo by Ben Moffat)

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By Ben Moffat

Sophomore running back Demario Richard (right) gives an interview during football media day on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, at the Carson Student-Athlete Center.

Richard has perhaps become more well-known in national circles for his nickname — "Baby Beast Mode" — which evokes the rushing style of California native and current Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

The name, which was given to Richard by a member of ASU football's media relations in anticipation of last season's Sun Bowl game against Duke, stuck.

"We were working out, and he would see me running the ball during the bowl week, and (Thomas Hess) called me ("Baby Beast Mode") and I didn't think it was going to stick like it did," Richard said.

Richard changed his named on Twitter to his now-famous nickname, and after scoring four touchdowns in the bowl game the name has been attached to him ever since.

The 5-foot-10, 213-pound running back plays with a similar size (Lynch is listed as 5-foot-11, 215 pounds) and style to Lynch, who he says he has paid close attention to.

"A lot of people would come up to me and tell me, 'You run like him. You run with a base and low center of gravity. Same body type.' So I could see the comparison," Richard said.

Richard looks bigger. He's gained weight after being under the tutelage of ASU head coach of sports performance Shawn Griswold, and he says that's a good thing.

"Last year I thought I was strong until (Griswold) put me in the weight room," Richard said. "I call it 'My House.' When Gris put me into 'the house' and kept me in there for a whole year I went crazy. One period of time, I didn't shave. I didn't cut my hair or nothing. I just went in there and went crazy and got stronger, faster, got an extra gear. I'm just more confident and more confident in my physicality of the game."

The sophomore running back is expected to be the leader of a deep running back group entering 2015, with senior D.J. Foster moving to wide receiver and sophomore Kalen Ballage, redshirt junior De'Chavon "Gump" Hayes, sophomore Jacom Brimhall, freshman Nick Ralston and even freshman Jason Lewis behind him.

"(My goal is) just leading this running back group to 15-0," Richard said. "That's our purpose. That's our goal — get this group ready. Make sure that from the feature back to the fifth back, make sure everybody's mentally and physically prepared for what's about to happen."

Richard said it's up to the coaching staff to keep each of the running backs involved in what is expected to be a high-scoring offense led by Richard and redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici.

"There's probably over 100,000,000 years of coaching on our staff," Richard said, only half-joking. "I trust them. They know what they're doing, so whatever they do we just going to take it and run with it."

The difference from last season's 10-win total is something that has only grown with the team's annual visit to Camp Tontozona — brotherhood.

"Last year's team was close," Richard said. "This year's team, it's crazy. Everybody, from the fifth-year seniors to the people who just got here two, three months ago, everybody just has the same goal and one purpose. One purpose is to be 15-0, so if you can go ask one of our freshman linemen or our freshman skill guys, 'What's your goal?' they're going to tell you."


Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow @fardaya15 on Twitter.

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