Mission Viejo's Redfield is a sports multitasker

Mission Viejo's Redfield is a sports multitasker

Published Aug. 15, 2012 4:54 p.m. ET

Three-sport high school standouts exist mostly in the history books. They've vanished along with rotary telephones and transistor radios.

That makes senior Max Redfield of Mission Viejo old-school. Football is his primary sport, but with encouragement from Coach Bob Johnson, he's also a major contributor for the basketball and track teams.

"I love that he plays three sports," Johnson said. "I've been a proponent of that forever. I like the attitude of going from one to another."

So does Redfield, who played four sports as a freshman; he was on a club soccer team while playing football, basketball and track for the school.

His 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame, combined with speed, strength and power, makes him one of the best athletes in Orange County. And there are few better at free safety.

Redfield's instincts, ability to close on a ballcarrier, leaping ability and toughness are just a few of the qualities Johnson and others admire. Redfield had two interceptions as a junior and caught 32 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns playing receiver.

"It's kind of a feeling where you think the ball is going to go, reading the quarterback," Redfield said of the free-safety position. "I feel I have the certain skills to do that. You've got to be aggressive. You have to have a chip on your shoulder. You're in the back of the defense, so you're the last line of defense. Everybody is in front of you. You order them around and make sure everything is in check. Then it's make a play on the ball."

Redfield was born in Connecticut. He moved to Huntington Beach with his mother when he was 6, the year he started playing tackle football. He tried lots of sports, but football has fit him well.

His personality draws respect and inspiration from teammates. They watch him and his work ethic and want to follow his lead.

The fact that he plays multiple sports in an era of specialization doesn't go unnoticed, but he has no intention of ending things during his senior year.

He loves basketball, particularly making a dunk.

"There's no feeling like it, just jumping up and throwing it down," he said. "It pumps up your team."

In track, he has done the 100, 400, triple jump, long jump and high jump. He sees track as helping his quickness and speed for football.

Even while keeping a busy summer schedule, he faced the distractions and pressures from recruiting.

"He's had a lot of attention and that's hard to deal with when you're that age," Johnson said. "It takes a total package to get through this thing, the recruiting."

For most of the summer, Redfield stayed patient until announcing last month he had committed to USC.

It was like playing three sports and having everyone want you on their team.

"It's tough to say no, but the coaches understand if you have other priorities," Redfield said.

-Eric Sondheimer