November 22, 2012

FOOTBALL: BIG BOY

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

One of the biggest players in the history of Oak Hill football is still a long way from entering high school.

Oak Hill middle schooler and Litchfield resident Austin (A.J.) Redmun is in the sixth grade, stands 6-foot-2 and weighs approximately 300 pounds. He won't reach his 12th birthday until next month.

"To put it in perspective, he's actually bigger than every single one of our seniors," said Vinny Dumais, one of A.J.'s youth football coaches.

Redmun was recently selected to play in the 2013 Junior Academic All-American football game on Jan. 4 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Redmun was spotted through YouTube videos by JuniorRank recruiter Brett Cooper. JuniorRank is an organization that evaluates and ranks athletes ages 11-16 in a variety of sports and helps them gain national recognition.

Redmun began the season on the 5th and 6th grade Sabattus Recreation travel team but soon moved up to play for both the 7th and 8th grade teams.

"Parents were starting to get a little nervous," A.J.'s dad, Bill, said. "The rec department made the decision to move him up to the 7th and 8th grade team. He played 20 games overall."

Bill Redmun said his son was concerned about injuring opponents.

"For a long time that was a big problem," Bill said. "For a big kid, he's a big teddy bear. He's always not wanted to hurt anybody."

Redmun, who plays nose tackle on defense and center or tackle on offense, was tested by physically more mature players who were two or three years older than he is. He held his own, according to Dumais.

"I think he's an exceptional football player," Dumais said.

Redmun is an all-around athlete. In addition to playing football this fall, he played 12 baseball games and 14 basketball games. His dad said A.J. probably won't get into the weight room until the eighth grade since he's not physically ready despite his size. His favorite player is New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and he aspires to play that position some day.

The delay in weight training doesn't apply to academics. Redmun is taking eighth grade classes for the gifted and talented in math and reading. Academic achievement is one of the requirements for playing in the all-star game and Redmun has maintained a 93 average.

"He's a great kid and he's a natural leader," Dumais said. "He's intelligent. He is a perfect team captain."

Redmun and his dad will spend three days in Carson, with the first two scheduled with practices before the game Jan 4. They are responsible for all their travel expenses, Donations can be made at https://www.wepay.com/donations/130372, or checks and money orders can be mailed to Austin or Bill Redmun, 2748 Hallowell Rd., Litchfield, ME 04350.

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com

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