Redd takes recruiting trip to Arkansas, will visit two more schools

By Ivan Sanders

STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   Sometimes the game of recruiting is harder to play than the sport(s) a prep player has to prepare for on a daily basis.
   When one has a God-given talent like Elizabethton High School's Vince Redd to either suit up with shoulder pads and a helmet for a football game or put on a pair of gym shorts and jersey to step onto a basketball court for a game of roundball, one can be sure of this -- there's going to be big name universities come courting for his services.
   With visits already complete to the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, a group of supporters were at A.L. Treadway Gymnasium after the game against Central on Friday night to see the 6-8 center for the Cyclones off to his next visit at the University of Arkansas for the weekend.
   After this visit, Redd will have two more scheduled visits left: one to South Carolina and the finale will be to Tennessee.
   I was able to catch up with the gentle giant this week and speak with him about the recruiting process and to find out the million dollar question that has rested on the tongues of many Cyclone supporters and residents throughout the Tri-Cities area: Where are you going Vince Redd?
   "I really and truly don't know," stated Redd when poised the question. "I am just going to make my visits and decide some time after that. Right now I just want to hang out with my family and friends and not really worry a lot about what everyone thinks I should do."
   Quite an answer from a seventeen year old high school student who is getting the recognition that many young men and women yearn for...right? Wrong!
   According to Valerie Redd, Vince's mother, this is the way Vince handles every aspect of his life.
   "Vince is a lot more rational than I am about things," said Valerie as she awaited Vince on Friday. "I am the type of person that makes quick decisions, but Vince always has made his decisions after thinking everything through and then deciding."
   So how does a young man handle all the hoopla surrounding such an important decision, especially at such an early age.
   Said Redd: "I just want to go out and play hard in every game and not think about what is going on. I want to help Elizabethton get the respect it deserves and help the basketball program be the best in the state. I am proud to attend a school like Elizabethton High School and I also want to help build community pride in what we have."
   Decisions like this one facing Vince are not ones to be taken lightly without talking to family and friends to get their perspective on the decision as well. Vince has been soliciting such advice from those that provide a supporting role to him.
   "My family has encouraged me to keep grounded and keep my head clear as to where I will go," said Redd. "Mainly they just want me to make the wise decision and stay out of trouble where ever I go."
   Valerie's advice to her son was that of any concerned parent whose child is preparing for the next phase of their life.
   "I told Vince to PRAY. Let God lead him in whatever decision he makes because without God being number one, you're not going to be successful anyway. I am very proud of him because every parent wants to see their kids do well. Teenagers have a hard enough time staying focused as it is, so I have encouraged him to just take time making this decision, which is his personality anyway."
   Wanting to know what things a young man looks for when making visits to these universities, Vince didn't have a hard time accessing what he is really looking for.
   Stated Redd: "The first thing I am looking at is the school's academics which is very important. I also want to see how the relationship is between the coaches and the players to make sure there is a good atmosphere present. Community support of the program also is important because I want to feel like I am at home where ever I decide to go."
   When asked which sport he really wanted to play at the next level, Redd said he would really like to play both. If he did have to make a choice, though, he was going to lean toward football.
   One of the final questions I personally wanted to know was how does a young man feel when he has been blessed with the skills and talent that God has given to Vince.
   "I feel very blessed to be able to do the things I do because I see other people that can't," quipped Redd. "There are those that can't walk or run, jump, or even lift their arms in the air. God has truly blessed me."
   Not only should Vince Redd be admired for his athletic ability, but Redd should be admired for the realization of more important issues far beyond his teenage years that even most adults haven't been able to grasp, years beyond high school.
   Where are you going, Vince Redd? It really doesn't matter because whatever university garners his services is not only getting a talented player, but they are getting a quality young man.