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Flames Feature - On the Road with Redd

November 14, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Vince Redd is a dominating force on the field for the Flames this year.

Vince Redd is a dominating force on the field for the Flames this year.

Liberty University is located just over 200 miles northeast of Elizabethton, Tenn., the hometown of Flames redshirt senior linebacker Vince Redd. Yet, it took Redd quite a while to find his way to Liberty, after taking a circuitous route, which included a stop in Charlottesville. Now that he's here, Redd is leading the Flames football team down a road it's never traveled before, one which is pointing toward a Big South Conference championship.

While the Liberty offense has been lighting up the scoreboard at a record-setting pace, the Flames defensive unit deserves some credit for the squad's current four-game winning streak, as well.

Redd, who at 6-6 and 260 pounds, possesses the versatility to play either defensive end or linebacker, has been squarely in the middle of the action for Liberty. He has terrorized opposing offenses to the tune of 6.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, two interceptions, six pass breakups during the first 10 games of the year.

He especially had the high-powered Coastal Carolina offense seeing "Redd" on Nov. 3. Redd, wearing Liberty's new red jersey, came up with career-high totals for tackles (11) and sacks (2.5). His efforts played a large role in the Flames' important 37-24 triumph over the three-time defending Big South champion, earning the senior Big South Defensive Player of the Week honors.

"On the field, I have a lot of ability, which gives us a chance to give different looks as a defense," explained the senior of his individual contributions.

"We're starting to mesh more as a defensive unit," Redd continued. "We are understanding the defense as a whole, and where we're supposed to fit on different plays. We're just playing together, listening to the coaches and being in the right spots."

Just as defensive coordinator Tom Clark's defense took several games to find all of the right spots on the field, it took Redd several steps to realize Liberty was the right spot for him.

Redd received recruiting letters from the Flames during his highly-decorated career at Elizabethton High School. However, he thought Liberty was located on the other side of the country and never gave the school serious consideration. Instead, the No. 2 prospect in Tennessee (according to Rivals.com) landed at Virginia, to play football for the Cavaliers.

Things did not quite pan out as Redd had hoped in Charlottesville, though. "I really felt like I was stuck when I was at Virginia," he acknowledged. A transfer to Grambling State nearly materialized, before paperwork issues nixed Redd's potential move to Louisiana.

After things fell through at Grambling State, Redd heard from a familiar voice, that of Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco. Rocco had been an assistant coach under Al Groh during Redd's time at Virginia, and wanted the athletic linebacker to reunite with him at Liberty.

"I'd been close to Coach Rocco and [Liberty Associate AD – Academic Affairs for Athletics Kristie] Beitz at Virginia, and knew they had both headed to Liberty," Redd recalled. "Coach Rocco said he had a scholarship for me, so I decided to join the Flames."

But Redd was unable to join the Flames on the field right away. After his transfer, he had to sit out the entire 2006 season and watch as his teammates completed the largest turnaround in Division I FCS football, recording a five-win improvement. Although it was certainly frustrating at the time, Redd now believes the year off football was beneficial.

"Last year put everything into perspective for me, because I had time to think about what was going on in my life," explained Redd. "I was able to get things sorted out between my life, school and football."

Redd's accomplishments in the middle of those three areas have been a source of pride for him. With assistance from Beitz and her Academic Affairs for Athletics staff, Redd has made significant progress toward a degree in general studies. He took 18 credits this summer and will be just nine credits away from graduation after the close of the current semester.

When Redd walks across the stage to accept his diploma in May, he will join the ranks of his parents, Vincent and Valerie Redd, both of whom finished degrees at East Tennessee State within the past several years. Redd's studies at Virginia and Liberty have centered around three cognates - communications, sport management and drama - the latter of which may open some eyes.

"I chose to get into drama at Virginia because I do best with things which are hands-on," noted Redd. "I enjoy all parts of it, from acting to producing to directing to set building."

Although few people have personally witnessed Redd's acting on the stage, thousands of fans have had the opportunity to see him and his Liberty teammates perform on the football field. An average of over 14,000 fans per game have packed Williams Stadium this season, propelling the Flames to a seven-game home winning streak.

"I always like the crowd and sometimes catch myself looking up into the crowd," admitted Redd. "Most of the time, it's loud out there. The students especially keep it loud."

Redd and his senior classmates will make their final appearance on the FieldTurf at Williams Stadium this Saturday, when the Flames attempt to remain unbeaten in Big South action, against in-state rival VMI. Redd will be honored with the rest of the Liberty seniors prior to kickoff against the Keydets.

He fully relishes and appreciates the Flames' on-the-field success this season, along with his fellow seniors, even though he has not witnessed the full transformation of the Liberty Football program alongside them. While the Flames were struggling through a 1-10 campaign in 2005, Redd was enduring his own football frustrations at Virginia.

As a result, Redd noted, "I understand where the other seniors are coming from. We basically went through the same type of process to get to this point."

The point Redd and the Flames have reached is located just one win away from the program's first-ever Big South crown. Regardless of how the season finishes up, though, Redd is thankful his journey has included a stop at Liberty.

"Liberty has basically been my second chance," Redd reflected. "I take everything as being good. I thank everybody for a great season. It has been a long road to get here."

Written by Paul Carmany
Liberty University Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director