It’s a process that has helped Redding in his career with the Demon Deacons, and it’s one sparked by a quote from Ray Lewis, the All-Pro linebacker of the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s a motto I live by,” Redding said of the Lewis quote. “He says, ‘If you want to do something well, work at it. The only thing that follows work is results.’ That’s what I think about every day, and how it pushes me to be better.”
Redding will have plenty of opportunities to show how he’s improved after being pegged by Wake Forest as a starting defensive end this season. After redshirting in 2009, and coming off the bench the next two years, the former Whitefield Academy standout is hoping to make a huge impact for the Demon Deacons as a junior.
“I’m excited to find out how good I am as a starter and to get more reps and a better feel for the game,” he said. “It will give me an opportunity to be more assertive and to help the team more.”
After his senior season of high school, in which he helped lead Whitefield to a 10-2 record and their first outright region championship, Redding and the Wake Forest coaching staff believed redshirting for 2009 would be a benefit to him.
“After I signed, I knew there was a possibility I could play,” Redding said, “but they also gave me the choice to redshirt. I felt like the better decision was to redshirt and get acclimated to the school and train to be ready for next season.
“It was the right decision. I feel like I’ve benefitted from it because I learned the playbook, and being in the weight room allowed me to grow into my body and find out what I was capable of. It helped me learn a different dynamic of the game by being on the sidelines and watching and learning. I know why we call plays instead of just being there running the play. I understand defenses better.”
After playing in different defensive formations at Whitefield, Redding’s role as a rush end in Wake Forest’s 4-3 formation was a position where he performed well in 2010. He saw action in nine games — with one start — in 2010, contributing three solo tackles and six overall.
A change in philosophies then led to Wake Forest installing a 3-4 defensive scheme for the 2011 season.
With that, Redding’s role also changed, as did his production. He didn’t start any of the 10 games he played and ended the year with three tackles, including two solo.
“I went from a rush end in the 4-3 to a defensive end in the 3-4,” Redding said. “I take on more blocks in the 3-4, but I’m in a better position to make plays. I think my natural skill set is in the 4-3, but I like the 3-4 too. It got us to a bowl game, and I’m willing to do what’s necessary to help us win. I like where we are right now.”
Wake Forest went 6-7 last year, losing to Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl.
Redding has taken on 30 pounds and has grown an inch over the course of his three years at Wake Forest, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 265 pounds. He maxes out at 400 pounds in the bench press, 340 in the hand clean and 320 pounds in the power clean.
One important thing Redding has learned since joining the Deacons is how to use his hands when engaging blockers.
“That’s the biggest improvement, I think,” he said. “Using your hands gives you a huge advantage. It’s tough to get blocked, and you can make more plays shedding guys.”
Making plays is all Redding has wanted to do since signing with Wake Forest. He will certainly have his chances to make those plays as a starter this season.
“I’m really glad I made the decision to come here,” Redding said. “Looking at my other choices, I’m glad God led me this way. It feels good to be here because they have great athletics and a great academic program. I’m focused on football, and this has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.
“I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. I think we’re more than capable of winning the (Atlantic Coast Conference) title, and I want to do what I can to dominate for my team this year.”