STARKVILLE – (AP) A football coach in Tennessee said he saw Mississippi State freshman defensive back Will Redmond receive money from a booster during the recruiting process.
Byron De’Vinner, who coaches a 7-on-7 team during the summer in Nashville, Tenn., said he witnessed a “handshake” worth about $200 and that former Mississippi State assistant coach Angelo Mirando knew about the payment. He first mentioned the payment on the “Head to Head” radio show in Mississippi on Tuesday.
“The booster and Mirando were very close,” De’Vinner told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “They connected all the time.”
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Redmond is still practicing with the Bulldogs, though he hasn’t played in a game this season.
“We’re not commenting on any of that stuff at this time,” Mullen said on Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference teleconference.
Mississippi State has not said much at all about Mirando since the receivers coach unexpectedly resigned on Aug. 19.
The university said in a statement at that time that Mirando’s departure was due to “unforeseen personal issues.” Then on Aug. 23, the university sent out another statement that it was working with the NCAA regarding a “potential recruiting irregularity.”
Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said on Wednesday the university is still working with the NCAA, but did not provide any additional information.
Documents released by the university through a public records request on Aug. 28 revealed the athletic department had disassociated itself from a booster who made “impermissible contact” with a recruit, but redacted the booster’s name from the letter.
A Yahoo report on Wednesday identified the booster involved with De’Vinner and Redmond as Robert Denton Herring of Roswell, Ga. De’Vinner, who said he has interviewed by NCAA investigators and Mississippi State officials, told Yahoo that Herring also arranged free lodging and meals for him during Redmond’s recruitment.
Redmond’s “family knows what happened and they’re just ready for this to be over,” De’Vinner told the AP. “They understand I didn’t want to take the fall for something I didn’t do.”
Redmond is from Memphis, Tenn., and played on the 7-on-7 summer team that De’Vinner coached, which was comprised of several top prospects. Summer teams often have several highly recruited players and tour multiple college campuses in an effort to gain exposure for athletes.
De’Vinner said the team that included Redmond played in tournaments in Memphis Nashville, Knoxville, Tenn., and Bradenton, Fla. He said the families of each player helped pay for expenses and that the travel “really wasn’t that expensive.”
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