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Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Max Redfield takes care of business

By Erik McKinney
ESPN RecruitingNation

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- In every edition of the ESPN 150 for the Class of 2013, Max Redfield has checked in as one of the country's top athletes. There might not be a better way to describe him.

Since he was 4 years old, Redfield has shined as an athlete. Whether it was baseball, basketball, football or soccer, Redfield possessed the skills that made it likely that he could have pursued a possible professional career in any of them. Fortunately for Mission Viejo (Calif.) head coach Bob Johnson and Lane Kiffin and his staff at USC, as well as high school football fans in Southern California, a series of shifts in his athletic history led Redfield to the football field, where, to nobody's surprise, he became a star.

Max Redfield
Max Redfield, the No. 2 athlete in the ESPN 150, plays reciever and safety, but says he makes a bigger impact on defense.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-2, 181-pound unquestioned leader of the Diablos' football team addressed his teammates, friends, family and coaches as he was awarded his jersey as part of the 2013 American Family Insurance Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. Redfield thanked his teammates and coaches for helping him get to this point -- chosen as one of 90 high school football players from across the country to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game.

And while it likely wouldn't have happened without his teammates and coaches, this honor was set in motion several years ago, when the No. 2 athlete in the nation made what he called "a business decision."

"Basketball was my first love and I still love playing it," Redfield said. "I'm playing it in high school and even thinking about maybe playing in college, too. Football was more of a business decision because I think I can go farther in football."

Redfield grew up in Connecticut before moving to Huntington Beach (Calif.) at 6 years old and then ultimately to Mission Viejo before ninth grade. During his freshman year, Redfield played club soccer, in addition to basketball, football and track for Mission Viejo -- baseball was dropped from his repertoire in seventh grade. But Redfield said it was the midpoint of his sophomore season that made the decision an easy one.

"I realized football is my future when I started to break out," he said. "I had some really good games and started to pop on the scene."

His ability led to offers from programs across the country, including LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and USC. He starred on both sides of the ball for a Mission Viejo team that came within a late touchdown of knocking off eventual state champion Santa Margarita in last season's playoffs. Redfield finished the season with 32 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns, to go along with 33 tackles, two interceptions and three blocked punts.

Over the summer, after drawn-out deliberations, Redfield committed to the hometown Trojans.

"It was one of the best days of my life," Redfield said of making his commitment. "It was finally making a decision and getting that weight lifted off my back. I was talking to the coaches and was happy with my decision."

Redfield said he believes he'll line up at safety going forward in his football career, both at the next level and at the Under Armour Game.

"I like playing receiver," he said. "But I feel more comfortable at safety. I feel more impactful."

It's an interesting word choice, considering safeties in years past, such as Florida State's Karlos Williams and Alabama's tandem of Eddie Williams and Landon Collins, have had big impacts on the game.

Redfield said he looks forward to following in the footsteps of some of the most talented players in college football by participating in the Under Armour Game. It's just another result of a business decision gone right for one of the nation's premier athletes.