Over the past three football seasons, Mitchell Burton has rushed for nearly 4,000 yards, many of them behind big left tackle David Redding.
At some point in the next four or five years, Redding might have more opportunities to block for Burton. The Columbus North seniors, both of which were All-State players in the fall, signed national letters-of-intent Wednesday to continue their careers at Miami (Ohio).
“It’s definitely a big relief, knowing that college is free, and now that ‘Big Red’ is going to Miami, I’ll also have somebody that I know going there,” Burton said. “I can’t wait.”
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Redding originally committed to Western Michigan last March. But he thought he might have been rushed, and in the long run, it might not have been the best thing for him to do.
So after careful consideration and reviewing his previous offers and reaching out to some other coaches, Redding decided on Dec. 1 to decommit from Western Michigan and commit to Miami.
The RedHawks, led by head coach Chuck Martin and associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach George Barnett, started last season 0-6 before winning their final six regular-season games to become bowl eligible. Miami fell to Mississippi State 17-16 in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
“I always loved Miami of Ohio,” Redding said. “I really like the coaches there. I really like their offensive line coach. Coach Barnett is a really good guy. They have high standards, high morals. It’s a place where I thought they would develop me most as a man, regardless of what happens on the field.”
Academics also factored into Redding’s change of plans. He was going to study civil engineering at Western Michigan, but after reevaluating that he will study mechanical engineering at Miami.
The 6-2, 195-pound Burton, who plans to major in business, committed to Miami last April.
“I knew I’d go D-I somewhere; I just didn’t know where,” Burton said. “Then after Miami offered me, I knew that was the right place.”
Burton and Redding were two of six Bull Dog football players and 13 North senior athletes overall to formally announce their college decisions Wednesday in a ceremony in the school’s cafeteria.
Among the other football commits, offensive lineman Alex Downin is headed to University of Indianapolis, tight end Tanner Payne will play at Rose-Hulman, defensive tackle Coleman Tennyson is headed to Tiffin (Ohio) and defensive end Spencer West will play at reigning NAIA national champion St. Francis.
Four players from the Bull Dogs’ regional champion girls soccer team participated in the ceremony. Forward Chloe Chambers is headed to Franklin, defender Marina Hughes will play at St. Francis, midfielder Natalie Teo is headed to Bellarmine and goalkeeper Charlotte Verbanic will play at Hanover.
Nick Beales, a forward/defender who helped lead the North boys soccer team to a regional title, is headed to the University of Indianapolis. Another boys soccer player, defender/midfielder Sam LaVelle, has committed to Manchester but was not at Wednesday’s ceremony and likely will participate in one in April.
Two boys cross-country and track runners will continue their careers at the collegiate level. Elijah Brooks is headed to Grace College, where he will join 2016 North graduate Ben Rankin; and Eli Fischer will run for Marian.