Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- Chris Redding has not one but two new playbooks to begin absorbing this summer.
The good news is both should be quite similar to what the wide receiver studied during his senior season at Burr and Burton Academy last fall.
A day after being named to the Vermont team for the 60th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl with BBA quarterback Jake Stalcup, Redding committed Friday to play football at the University of New Hampshire where he will take a preferred walk-on spot as a wide receiver.
With his college choice down to either Saint Anselm, a Division II school offering a scholarship, or D-I New Hampshire, Redding said the opportunity to play football at the highest level was what swayed him.
"For me, that was a huge draw," he said.
"I’m extremely excited. It validates all the hard work and the changes I’ve gone through the last couple of years," said Redding, who opted to leave Mount Anthony for BBA last summer with the hopes of improving his stock as a college prospect.
UNH, which competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, has proven a popular landing spot for many of Vermont’s past high school football standouts, including Spaulding’s David Ball, who broke Jerry Rice’s long-standing NCAA record for touchdown catches.
But Redding had an even closer link to the Durham campus in the form of BBA head coach Jason Thomas, who spent two years with the Wildcats coaching the wide receivers.
"I stayed pretty close with the whole staff there," said Thomas, the head coach of this year’s Vermont Shrine team, too. "I just did my job as his coach, trying to get him recruited.
"I think he’ll be great there. If he continues to work hard and develop, they develop kids as well as any program in the country."
New Hampshire has reached the FCS playoffs each of the past nine seasons with a no-huddle, spread offense that has been among the nation’s most prolific attacks.
It also resembles the offense Thomas runs at Burr and Burton, where Redding thrived alongside Stalcup, a Middlebury commitment and Vermont’s 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year.
In nine games last fall, Redding caught 71 passes for 1,160 yards and 15 touchdowns, one of five different ways he scored for the Bulldogs. He also rushed for 514 yards and nine touchdowns, and passed for 248 yards and three more TDs.
"The [UNH] position will fit exactly what I was at BBA," he said. "The terminologies are very similar."
Meanwhile, the Maple Sugar Bowl, played to benefit the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children, will be one final chance for Thomas, Stalcup and Redding to rekindle the firepower that made BBA the state’s highest-scoring team last season at 43 points per game.
The idea that he could coach the dynamic duo one more time was enough to sell Thomas on getting involved.
"That’s the reason why I did it," Thomas said. "I love what [the game] represents, the tradition and the history of the game, and to get to coach those two again is why I threw my name in the hat."
The BBA pair is a key piece in Vermont’s roster of 36 top graduating seniors that will clash with New Hampshire standouts on Aug. 3 at Dartmouth College. With three spots left to fill, 18 high schools are represented on the Green Mountain squad.
"It will be an unbelievable experience," Redding said. "To play alongside Jake this year was an honor and one more game will be phenomenal."