Will Redmond was offered $6,000 by a booster to end his recruitment and sign with Mississippi State, according to Byron De’Vinner, Redmond’s seven-on-seven coach in Nashville.
I spoke with De’Vinner this evening, and he said that the booster, Robert Denton Herring, made that offer to Redmond as well as to Sheldon Dawson, who’s now at Georgia and is also a person of interest to the NCAA. The NCAA has been investigating MSU for months in regards to the actions of Herring and former assistant coach Angelo Mirando, who resigned last month just days before this investigation came to light.
Redmond, who played high school ball at Memphis East, signed with MSU in February, but De’Vinner said he doesn’t know if Redmond took Herring’s offer. He said the only impermissible benefit he witnessed in person was the cash handshake Herring gave Redmond at the South Carolina-MSU football game last October. De’Vinner first revealed that detail and many others Tuesday on the Head to Head Radio show. Those were his first extensive public comments on the matter.
He also said Redmond received a jacket and a gift card from Herring. Outside of Dawson, De’Vinner said he wasn’t aware of Herring offering impermissible benefits to any other prospects.
“I don’t know if he offered anybody else. I haven’t seen that part of it,” he said.
Moments after he spoke with me, however, ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that De’Vinner was aware of Herring providing benefits to “five or six” MSU athletes, including defensive end Denico Autry, a junior college transfer. When I texted De’Vinner about this, he replied, “Schad is lying.”
De’Vinner said the only impermissible benefit he knew about when it was offered was the money in October, which he has estimated was between $100 and $200. De’Vinner said he was interviewed by the NCAA in January, and that he informed them of the handshake along with everything else he knew about Herring’s activities.
De’Vinner said he tried to warn Redmond to be careful in dealing with Herring, but as Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports reported this morning, Redmond told De’Vinner during a January visit to MSU that he needed to see Herring to get more money.
“Will didn’t really, honestly, I don’t think Will knew the guy’s name for the longest (time),” De’Vinner said. “When he went to handshake, to be honest with you, I don’t even know if Will knew the guy’s name. I really don’t think he knew that. I know his mom don’t. I don’t think Will really knew the guy’s name, because he was calling Will from one phone number and calling me from another phone number.”
De’Vinner reiterated to me that Mirando was aware of Herring’s activities, but he could not say whether Mirando condoned them. De’Vinner has said he’s trying to clear his name and claims that Herring and Mirando tried to make him the fall guy. They wanted him to tell the NCAA that he introduced Redmond to Herring.
“I refused to, because how the hell could I introduce them? I don’t even know nobody at State as far as boosters,” De’Vinner said.
As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Herring was trying to keep him quiet. De’Vinner said he cussed Herring out.
“He wanted me to be quiet and (said) it’ll go away. I said, ‘No, I’m not being quiet. It’s not going to go away.’”
De’Vinner has not spoken with Mirando since May. He hasn’t spoken with Redmond since before August camp began, but he speaks with Redmond’s mother almost daily. According to her, De’Vinner said, “He’s dealing with it good.”