- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
It’s not often that LSU wanders to the Pacific Coast in search for high school players.
So when LSU secondary coach Corey Raymond called one of the top 2013 defensive backs last week, you might say it was a little unexpected.
“I was really surprised,” said safety Max Redfield, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound safety from Mission Viejo, Calif., who is also an ESPNU 150 Watch List member. “I had only talked to Coach Raymond a little bit, and I got an offer.”
Although Redfield is halfway across the country from Baton Rouge, La., he was immediately interested.
“Actually, I always had LSU in mind,” he said. “I’m definitely considering taking a visit there and maybe ultimately going there.”
With recent LSU success stories in the secondary like Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu, it’s not hard to figure out why a kid might want to trade Pacific views for a chance to play on the banks of the Mississippi River.
“They’ve got a great track record with defensive backs,” he said. “The SEC is the best conference in college football and they have great coaching I can take advantage of if I go there.”
Redfield would fit in with recent Tiger defensive back prospects.
Big and fast, Redfield describes himself as a “hard-hitting ball hawk” who is “always around the football.” Physically, he is comparable in size and build to current and recent LSU safeties like Eric Reid and Chad Jones.
But after Sunday’s Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp, one might not want to think of him only as a safety.
Michael Fletcher, the defensive backs coach at the camp, said Redfield has the ability to not only play safety, but also cornerback.
“Max reminds me of Jimmy Smith from the Baltimore Ravens,” Fletcher told ESPN Recruiting Nation’s Garry Paskwietz referencing a 6-2, 210-pound NFL cornerback who’s also from Southern California. “He’s deceptively agile and there’s a quiet fire about him. I really like the way he got better with every rep today.”
While the diminutive Mathieu, the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, is perhaps the most noted recent LSU cornerback, generally the Tigers have thrived with big, physical corners under defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Peterson, the 2010 Thorpe And Bednarik Award winner, is listed at 6-foot, 219 pounds by the Arizona Cardinals. Simon, who’s looking to replace the NFL-bound Claiborne as a starting corner next season, is listed at 6-3, 187. Jalen Collins, the leading candidate to replace Simon as the third corner, is a long-armed 6-1.
Redfield has the size to fit that mold as well. He certainly has the all-around athletic talent to adjust to either position. Redfield took a break from his participation on Mission Viejo High School’s track team to go to the Nike camp. Before that, he played on the high school’s basketball team, meaning there hasn’t been much football activity for him since the season’s completion.
While cornerback Chris Hawkins - who also has an LSU offer - stole the Nike camp show with his post-camp commitment to USC, Redfield has upside that has drawn the notice of schools from coast to coast.
For now, Redfield is keeping his options open and LSU is high on the list of options
“Right now, USC, Oregon and Notre Dame are the slight leaders,” he said. “I don’t really have them ranked 1-2-3, but that’s probably my top three right now. But I’d say LSU is definitely in my top five.”