'Man among boys'

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Offensive coordinators do a lot of scheming in order to get a mismatch. One Tennessee commitment routinely provides a mismatch just by lining up.

Keithon Redding is a wide receiver from Columbia High in Decatur, Ga., who has a combination of size (6 feet 2, 200 pounds) and speed (4.4) that most cornerbacks simply cannot match.

"It's like a man playing among boys," Columbia High head man Mario Allen told InsideTennessee.com. "He definitely knows how to use his size. And he's a legitimate low 4.4 (over 40 yards). He's not the kind of kid you want to try to single cover. You have to double- and triple-cover him."

Even with Redding drawing that kind of attention from opposing defenses, his coach says he caught around 30 passes for approximately 600 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior.

"He just has a knack to make big plays," Allen said. "He's a kid with great ball skills as a receiver. When the ball's up in the air he's definitely going to be the one to come down with it."

Redding's rare blend of size and speed prompts comparisons to a couple of high-profile NFL receivers.

"He reminds me of a high school version of Terrell Owens (currently a free agent) because he's so strong and aggressive," Allen said. "He also reminds me Anquan Boldin (Baltimore Ravens) because he's so physical ... not just when he's catching the ball but on run plays he's a very good blocker, very aggressive. He'll put his nose in there and make the block that springs the run."

A lot of guys with good size and speed fail to make an impact at the college level because they lack the other requirements of a quality receiver. That does not appear to be the case with Keithon Redding.

"He has good feet and great hands," Allen said. "He's an intelligent receiver who can run various routes. He's the kind you want to get the ball in his hands as much as possible."

In addition to the ability to run an assortment of routes, Redding has the ability to play an assortment of positions — on offense, on defense and on special teams.

"He's the total package," Allen said. "We used him on defense, and he's also one of the top kickoff and punt returners in the area. He's the kind of kid who can play outside receiver, the slot, corner, safety, punt return, kickoff return or run down on coverage. We hate to lose him but Tennessee's going to get a great one."

Already tabbed all-region and all-county, Redding is scheduled to play in two Georgia prep showcases — the North-South All-Star Game and the East West All-Star Game.

Asked to pinpoint the finest performance of Redding's senior year, Allen paused thoughtfully before replying: "He played so well I can't say what his best game was."

Redding plans to run track to keep his body in tune between now and the time he enrolls at Tennessee. His high school coach believes he has the intangibles to adjust quickly to college ball and contribute early for the Vols.

"He has intelligence and his football IQ is real, real good," Allen said. "He has a lot of natural ability and he picks things up fast. He's from a watered-down version of a college offense, and he's a kid who rises to the occasion when he's facing the best competition and the best opponents."

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