Notre Dame football: 'Fearless' Redfield could help on offense, too

ERIC HANSEN
South Bend Tribune

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following profile of heralded freshman Max Redfield is one of many stories featured in the 100-page 2013 ND Insider Notre Dame Football Annual, which is on sale now. It is available at retail outlets throughout Michiana and online atwww.southbendtribune.com/ndannual. When football ends for Max Redfield, the Notre Dame freshman safety hopes to pursue a career in the FBI or CIA. Maybe both? It certainly would fit the profile of the serial multi-tasker, who played no fewer than three sports the past four years at Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. At Notre Dame he’ll specialize to a certain extent, though he did ask Irish head football coach Brian Kelly if he could double dip with Mike Brey’s men’s hoops squad. “Basketball was one of my first loves,” he said matter-of-factly. So was football and track and soccer, the latter the one sport he gave up after his freshman year in high school. Sort of. “I still mess around with friends, playing a little bit,” said Redfield, whose mom, Kathy, played soccer collegiately at Connecticut and whose aunt, Joy Fawcett, played in Olympic and World Cup competitions. “I’m always juggling the ball and playing around.” His hope is to be juggling football duties when the Irish open the season with Temple on Aug. 31, as a safety, a special teams stalwart (he blocked four punts for Mission Viejo last season) and — yes, a wide receiver. “The coaches talked to me about playing both ways a little bit,” Redfield said. “They said if I could get the defense down, they might throw me in at receiver every now and then. A wide range of other schools offered me a chance to play receiver and safety as well. “Any way I can get on the field, I want to do it. And I feel like I could contribute on both sides of the ball for Notre Dame.” The depth chart at safety has plenty of bodies and intriguing options, but not a lot of experience beyond returning starter Matthias Farley. Redfield hopes to turn the competition at the other safety spot between sophomores Elijah Shumate and Nicky Baratti and senior Austin Collinsworth into a four-man derby. “There will be an adjustment for him — there’d be an adjustment for everybody,” said Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson, whose son, Rob, played quarterback in the NFL for close to a decade. “He’s going to go against bigger, stronger, faster than what he’s used to, but he’s really used to competing against very good competition. I don’t know Notre Dame’s depth chart, but I would think if somebody has a chance to play quite a bit this year, it would be him. He’s fearless.” And apparently has a high threshold for pain. Redfield, a five-star prospect, suffered injuries to both ankles late last football season and played through the pain the entire basketball and track seasons. He averaged 13.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists for a 24-3 hoops squad. In track, he ran the 400 meters (49.27 in the CIF Southern Section Division Finals), the 4 by 100 relay and the 4 by 400 relay. Before track season was completed, he took up, of course, another sport — swimming. “That was to get me ready for Notre Dame football,” he said. “The endurance, the cardio.” Redfield’s arrival at ND was delayed a few days because of Mission Viejo’s late graduation date (June 19), but he was determined to make up for lost time. “I’m going to get the playbook down as fast as possible,” he said. “I want to learn it front to back. I expect to make a very large impact on the team.” “He never wants to leave the field,” Johnson said. “He finds a way. He’ll run through people. His attitude is, ‘This is fun. Let’s go do this.’ And then he goes out and does just that.”

Max Redfield, of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School.