Southend United boss Steve Tilson has made Colchester United defender Garry Richards his sixth summer signing.
The 21-year-old has penned a two-year contract with the Shrimpers after moving from Layer Road for an undisclosed fee.
Tilson told the club's official website: "I felt we needed another defender to boost our options at the back.
"With Peter Clarke carrying a slight back problem it was important that we brought someone else in.
"Garry is another big, strong, tall defender and is completely different to what we already have. I'm sure he will prove a useful addition."