Redding takes pressure off

Western Michigan football coaches told David Redding they were going to offer scholarships to three offensive linemen.

After two other offensive linemen committed to the Broncos, the Columbus North junior figured he better act while he still had an offer. So late last week, Redding, a three-sport athlete, committed to play football for Western Michigan beginning in the fall of 2017.

“Coach (P.J.) Fleck had told me that they were going to take three offensive linemen, and they had two of them commit right before me,” Redding said. “So I didn’t feel like I could pass this opportunity up.”

Redding also had scholarship offers from Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo. He visited Miami a couple times but had not made it to Buffalo.

But after talking with North head coach Tim Bless, North offensive line coach Aaron Karrer and his parents, Dave and Karen Redding, David Redding committed to the Kalamazoo, Michigan, school.

“David is a great prospect,” Bless said. “He had three offers at the time and was certainly going to get more. I think Western Michigan did a great job of recruiting David and showed him a lot of love in the process.”

The Broncos went 8-5 in the fall and won a share of the Mid-American Conference West Division title. They then downed Middle Tennessee 45-31 in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl to post their first bowl win in school history.

That came a year after Fleck led the biggest turnaround in Western Michigan history. After leading the Broncos to a 1-11 season in his first year at the helm, he helped the team finish 8-5 in 2014.

“It’s still relatively early in the process because we haven’t gone through spring recruiting, but (Redding) felt great about what their program is doing,” Bless said. “Coach Fleck has won a lot of games in a short amount of time, and they’re sort of the cream of the crop in the MAC.”

Redding, who plans to major in civil engineering at Western Michigan, is in his second year of throwing the shot and discus for North’s track and field team. 

This year, Redding wrestled for the first time. He ended up becoming a regional qualifier.

“Coach (Nick) Skinner came to me looking for a heavyweight,” Redding said. “He said it would help with my quickness and agility and my balance — all three key essential parts when playing offensive line. I prayed about that and thought it was in my best interest to try it out.”

Western Michigan coaches said the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Redding could play offensive tackle or guard. He started every game for the Bull Dogs as a junior after being a backup for most of his sophomore year.

In the fall, Redding helped North set a school record with 417.7 yards of offense per game on its way to a 6-4 record. He was named Class 6A first-team All-State by The Associated Press, 6A Junior All-State by the Indiana Football Coaches Association and first-team All-Conference Indiana.

“He made huge strides in the offseason coming into his junior year, and he showed that on the field last year,” Bless said. “We have great plans for him this year.”

Redding has great plans for the team.

“I want to take the football team to state,” Redding said. “I know that’s a big challenge and a big task at hand, but we have a great group of guys, and if everybody tries their hardest, we’re going to have a really good run.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.