Courtesy of alabama247sports.com
The path Griff Redmill took to the University of Alabama back in 1996 had as many dips and curves as the winding stretch of AL-69 that led him from his Jasper home south to Tuscaloosa.
Looking back, the recruitment of the former University of Alabama offensive lineman, who was initially pegged as a defensive lineman by Gene Stallings' staff, had a little bit of everything. Among the highlights: a significant knee injury during Redmill's junior year that wouldn't be revealed until months later; a commitment to a rival SEC program, followed by a late offer from UA and subsequent flip to the Crimson Tide.
The only thing missing was BamaOnLine.com to cover it all. BOL set up shop on June 6, 1996, about the same time Redmill, a member of Stallings' final recruiting class, picked up his diploma from Walker High.
The following is Redmill's recollection of his recruitment. Many thanks to Griff, a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide at offensive guard from 1998-2000, for allowing us to share with our readers a fascinating account of how a kid defied the odds to realize his life-long dream.
My first recruiting letter came from (recruiting coordinator) Randy Ross at the University of Alabama. Growing up an hour from Tuscaloosa, my family had always been huge Alabama fans and it was no secret where I always dreamed of playing college football.
The letter came after my sophomore year at Walker High School. Honestly, it was probably more of a courtesy because of some family friends who were influential boosters at that time. I think they wanted to see me at Alabama as much as my own family did.
At the time, I was a 6-foot-4, 205-pound defensive end/tight end playing on a team with a 2-8 record, so I wasn’t exactly a blue chipper. But that letter gave me a lot of confidence and reinforced the idea that playing college football could be a reality for me.
I began working toward that goal and as I finally started to mature physically, I picked up more and more interest from other schools. I still wasn’t as big as most of the other recruits at my position but teams seemed to like that I was versatile enough to play several positions. I also had good grades and was a good kid.
It was then that I started hearing from most of the SEC schools. Shortly thereafter schools outside the SEC began to show interest: Colorado, Florida State, Louisville and Penn State. However, none of those schools seemed to be very serious about me at first. Alabama contacted me the most throughout the entire process.
At the end of my junior year, we hired a new head coach, Bubba Davis. Coach Davis retired from the Mississippi school system after winning four state championships [at West Point High School] and turning several struggling programs around throughout his career.
Coach Davis had been around the block when it came to the recruiting game. He had put kids in college at every level. When he came to Walker, I expressed to him my goals and concerns with getting where I wanted to be. He told me to keep working like I had been and he’d handle the rest of it.
During spring training leading up to my senior year, coaches from various universities started coming to watch practice. Most, if not all, of these guys were there as a result of relationships coach Davis had developed over the years. They would take a look at a kid solely on his endorsement.
I was having a great spring and interest from coaches was starting to pick up. Then something happened that almost changed the course of my football career. During spring training I was also participating in track and field. Three days before our spring game, I hurt my knee participating in the long jump competition.
I remember going to see Dr. Larry Lemak at HealthSouth in Birmingham. He prodded me for about 30 seconds before bluntly telling me that I had sustained a torn ACL and would require surgery. Dr. Lemak said he would do the surgery on Tuesday and I would miss my senior football season in the fall.
I knew my chances of a SEC scholarship offer were marginal without a great senior season and If I didn’t play at all I would probably fall off the recruiting map. So I did what any 17-year-old whose dreams had seemingly been crushed would do: I started to cry uncontrollably.
Dr. Lemak was a little shocked by my reaction. But when I explained my situation, he seemed to understand. Before I left his office, Dr. Lemak offered one long-shot option: rehab all summer, brace the injured knee in the fall and see how long I could go on it. He said he didn’t recommend the option and that he’d never seen it work out but in my mind, it was the only option I had.
After a spring and summer in coach Davis’ program, I reported for fall camp at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds. A few weeks into my senior season, college coaches started calling and coming to see me at school.
Amazingly, I managed to keep my injury a secret for the first seven games or so. I was having a great year and never missed a play due to my injury, so no one ever thought to question my knee. Of course, the news about my knee did eventually get out and once it did, teams were obviously concerned.
Read more here http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/TRips-Redmill-recalls-recruitment-59773