Michael Redding III connected his left thumb with his right thumb and stretched his hands out in front to form the “U” symbol representing his affinity for the University of Miami football program.
Redding, a high school senior, was inside IMG Academy’s fieldhouse, site of the Bradenton private sports academy’s 2019 media day.
But before late June, nobody would have guessed the Pensacola native was planning to play college football for the Hurricanes.
Florida State was among 247 Sports’ favorites to land the wide receiver.
For Redding, though, Miami’s family atmosphere, academic setting and football program were the things he was looking for when he announced his commitment to UM on June 30.
“Being able to be part of their system, being able to fit in their system and their system being like an NFL (system) ... so it’ll be a smooth transition for the NFL,” Redding III told the Herald. “It’s great for branding and networking, because it’s in Miami. Miami’s just a great place to be. It’s a great city. So there’s a lot of things that went into that decision.”
But deciding on the Hurricanes came when Redding had a one-on-one workout with UM wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield. That workout, Redding said, is when he knew he wanted to go to Miami.
“He’s very technical, and that’s something I need,” Redding III said. “Being just a raw athlete, being able to learn those techniques and be able to perfect my craft and be able to be the best wide receiver that I can be is something that’s very important to me. And he knows that, too. We both can accomplish that goal.”
Two other keys to Redding’s decision to commit to the Canes was the hiring of Dan Enos as the team’s offensive coordinator and the history of Miami players making it to the NFL.
“Those are the networking and branding and connections that you can use after coming from Miami,” Redding said.
IMG head coach Kevin Wright has had Redding, a consensus 4-star prospect, for the past 2 1/2 years. He said Redding is on target to graduate early in December and early enroll after taking part in December’s signing day period.
“(Miami) is getting a complete package,” Wright said. “He’s a guy you want on the field, because of his physical skills and he’s a guy that you want in the locker room and off the field, because of who he is and his leadership ability. Very intelligent, high football IQ and he makes people around him better, because of how he carries himself and his work ethic.”
Redding said his goals for the upcoming high school season is to win the national title, while his personal goal is to be the best that he can be.
“To show Miami what they’re going to get when I get there,” said Redding, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds.