Big Eight award caps big season for Redd

By Allen LaMountain

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

   Cyclone junior linebacker Vince Redd was honored with the Big Eight's 'Defensive Player of the Year' award for his play this past season, but to Redd, individual honors are nice, but the team is first in his mind.
   "I think the award goes to the team," said Redd. "Because it's how hard the rest of the team worked that let me make plays. When the corners do their jobs for instance, things just funnel to me and I finish the play. But the whole team has to work together to make it happen."
   Redd -- a 6-6, 240 pounder -- was among the leading tacklers in the Big Eight with better than 115 combined solo and assisted tackles. In addition, Redd accounted for four quarterback sacks and forced five fumbles, had four interceptions and recovered a fumble as well.
   In the Cyclones playoff opener against Cherokee, Chiefs head coach Mike Sivert called Redd: "The difference in the game. He was just outstanding, we couldn't get him blocked. He hit a couple of our players so hard they didn't know where they were at."
   In that contest Redd accounted for 12 solo tackles -- several of those were the type of hits you see on NFL highlight reels -- and had an interception to boot as Betsy won 13-12.
   Redd, like the Cyclones, got off to a somewhat slow start, but once he started playing to his capabilities the Cyclone defense was much improved and was a big reason for the season turnaround from a 1-4 start to a 8-1 finish.
   "I think (the slow start) had to do with Vince thinking too much out there. He was playing with pure athletic ability, which often put him in the wrong place," said Cyclone head coach Tommy Jenkins. "Once Vince got to working with linebacker coach Mike Hooks, and started to understand his reads, he played a lot more to his potential."
   That potential could stamp Redd next season as one of the top pre-season candidates for the Mr. Football award, which goes to the most outstanding Tennessee prep football player.
   It could also stamp him a ticket to Knoxville as well, but Redd isn't quite ready yet to limit himself to any options saying, "I want to have as many schools looking at me as I can. I would like to play in the SEC, or ACC, but I still have my senior year to get through."
   Redd is also a quality basketball player, which gives him yet another set of options for him to consider when deciding on his future, but football could really turn out to be his ticket.
   "Vince has the same type of potential as Jason Witten had," said Jenkins. "It's going to come down to how hard he wants to work at making himself the best he can be. I feel that he has the potential to be one of the top athlete's, not only in Tennessee, but in the South. He has that type of ability."
   When asked of his preference of playing offense or defense Redd was non committal saying, "I enjoy playing tight-end on offense, because I can use my speed, but I can also hit people when I'm blocking. I'll play where ever the coaches think I can best help the team."
   One thing Redd needs to build on is the type of aggressiveness he showed in the Cherokee contest, and play with a 'chip on his shoulder'.
   "In football, you have to be ready to play," said Redd. "It's an attitude, and that's half the battle."
   Coach Jenkins agreed saying, "Now that he really knows his assignments, Vince can play with more aggressiveness and use it to his advantage. We want him to come into next season and be that type of player, but not put too much pressure on him. I think he can have a big year."