McKendree hooks one of Benton High's top bass fishers
Illinois is home to a great diversity of college athletes in many sports; football, baseball, softball and basketball, just to name a few. There is one sport, though, that many people don't realize offers college scholarships -- bass fishing.
Dailus Richardson knows the sport well, however.
Richardson received a scholarship to attend McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois to join its fishing team.
"I knew that many colleges were giving away scholarships and I visited with quite a few," Richardson told the Southwest Illinois News. "McKendree has the best program in the nation; they really take really good care of their athletes,"
Richardson was a phenom at Benton High School in the sport, winning six tournaments just in the past year, the highlight of those being the 2016 Costa Bassmaster High School Classic. He competed in the B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Divisional in 2015, and pulled off a surprising feat. The tournament features a division just for high schoolers, but Richardson's haul in the event landed him in fourth place in the entire tournament.
Richardson's love of bass fishing began at an early age.
"I was 5 years old when I fished my first tournament, and I fished with my dad," Richardson said. "My dad and I took first place, and that's really what got the ball rolling."
He's also active in the community. He volunteers at his church, as well as at 4-H and FFA groups. He also helps with the Rend Lake Kids Fishing Derby and started a monofilament fishing line recycling program at four nearby lakes. His community activism, combined with his fishing talent and good grades, helped him to be named one of just 12 members of the 2016 Bassmaster High School Fishing All-American team.
Richardson said his desire to help in the community comes from wanting to give back.
"The city and the whole community helps us out at fundraisers, and supports us on all of our trips so it's nice to be able to return the favor where I can," he said.
While RIchardson has his eyes on the big leagues of bass fishing, he says he'll also be using his time in college to prepare for life outside of fishing.
"I plan on trying to go pro after college, but in case that doesn't happen I am studying business marketing and I will seek a job in the fishing industry," he said.