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June 28, 2008

River Hill's Redd discusses his commitment to Central Michigan

Never has YouTube played a more prominent role in an athlete’s recruitment than in the case of River Hill running back Malek Redd.

Redd, who committed to Central Michigan on Wednesday, rushed for 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns during his junior season. He followed his season up with a string of impressive combine performances. But it wasn’t until the Chippewas coaching staff took a look at Redd’s readily-available highlight reel that the 5-foot-6, 171-pounder received his first scholarship offer.

Central Michigan’s courtship of Redd began last week at Michigan’s football camp.

“When I first got to Michigan, it was a one-day camp, so we just went through stretching, working on speed, form running and circuits,” Redd said. “After that we ran 40s and my first 40 I ran a 4.27. All the coaches heard about it and they all came over to watch my second one, and I ran the same exact time.

“[After the camp the Central Michigan coaches] were talking to my stepdad, asking what my e-mail was so they could keep in contact with me,” Redd said. “[CMU head coach Butch] Jones said he was going to e-mail me the next day. As I was about to leave, he told me to check my e-mail whenever I got the chance. He hadn’t seen my highlight film yet, so I told him to go on YouTube and check out my highlight film.”

Jones exited the building, presumably to find the nearest computer with internet access. Meanwhile, Redd and his stepfather continued talking to Michigan’s recruiting coordinator. The Wolverines staff invited Redd to stay for the next day at camp, which he accepted. Then came good news from the Chippewas.

“We were still in the building and I was talking to the recruiting coach from Michigan,” Redd said. “When I was about to leave [Jones] sent his offensive coordinator down [to offer a scholarship] because he saw my highlight film [on YouTube] and he loved it.”

Redd didn’t commit immediately. He left Ann Arbor, Mich., the following day, but Central’s offer stood out in his mind. The recruitment took off from there, leading up his unofficial visit to CMU, located in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Wednesday.

“It was a one-day trip,” Redd said. “I wanted to go visit the school. I was e-mailing the coaches back and forth. We just talked about me playing and being successful in life. He wanted me to come up and [I went there with River Hill safety] Leron Eaddy. Leron got an offer from there [Wednesday], too. We sat down in the office and were about to leave. [Jones] asked if we had any questions, and I was like, ‘I just want to accept your offer and commit to Central Michigan.’”

Redd said he was sold on Central Michigan’s recent success -- the Chippewas have won back-to-back MAC championships -- and the opportunity to contribute immediately. Redd thought Michigan might offer a scholarship soon, but he didn’t want to wait to find out.

“I like Michigan, it’s a big-name school and all that, but they have four running backs this year and they’re about my size and [have] similar [styles],” Redd said. “So I didn’t see myself getting playing time freshman year, and I want to play my freshman year.

“Coach Jones was saying I could come in and [play] right away. He was saying I could be a star player up there.”

Redd also looks forward to playing one season with Central’s star quarterback Dan LeFevour, the reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year. LeFevour threw for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 as a sophomore, becoming just the second player in Bowl Subdivision history to accomplish that feat.

“When I went up there for my visit, I met with all the coaches, talked to a few of them, and talked to the quarterback, Dan LeFevour,” Redd said. “He’s going to be up for the Heisman. Me and him talked for awhile. He was telling me how the coach really loved me and he thought I could help the program. I’ll be up there for his senior year, and we can make something happen that year before he leaves.”

For now Redd, who intends to major in sports management at CMU, can focus the rest of his summer on getting ready for his senior season. He said it’s a great relief to have found a home for the next four years.

“It feels really good,” Redd said. “You don’t have that stress. ... Last year coaches would come to the game, but it would be stressful because I didn’t want to mess up. I’m committed now, so I’m good. I can just have fun during my senior year.”

Click on the YouTube player for Redd's junior season highlights.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:56 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Comments

I'm no expert at looking at HS film but this kid seems to have a tremendous burst. Not sure why RF did not go after him.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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