Junior Colleges

St. Martin's Kalem Reddix forgoes promising football career for military

St. Martin receiver Kalem Reddix breaks free for a long run after catching a Wayne Overman III pass on Oct. 14, 2016, in Biloxi.
St. Martin receiver Kalem Reddix breaks free for a long run after catching a Wayne Overman III pass on Oct. 14, 2016, in Biloxi. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

Kalem Reddix, one of the most gifted football players on the Coast the last two seasons, appears to be walking away from a promising career on the gridiron.

The former St. Martin standout has decided to join the Army and will not play football this season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College as originally planned. He plans to undergo a physical in New Orleans on July 20 and enlist soon after.

“I’ve always thought about it,” Reddix said. “My uncle (Chris Reddix) was in the Army for 30 years and I always looked up to him. He was a great athlete who chose the military.”

The talented receiver earned scholarship offers from a long list of Division I programs heading into his senior campaign, including Colorado State, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane and Middle Tennessee. He committed to USM and Colorado State ahead of signing day, but ended up graduating early from St. Martin and enrolling at MGCCC for the spring semester.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Reddix caught 91 passes for 1,774 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. He made the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Team as both a junior and senior.

Reddix, who had been working out at MGCCC this summer, said he kept it to himself as he considered entering the military. On Sunday, he posted on social media about his decision.

He said that his family has been supportive of his decision.

“Everybody is proud of me,” Reddix said. “They know if you go into the military that makes a man out of you.”

Reddix didn’t inform his high school head coach, Eddie Wayne Whitehead, or MGCCC’s Chad Huff prior to his announcement.

“It caught me by surprise,” Whitehead said. “ I expected him to be an All-American at Gulf Coast. Everybody makes their own choice. We support him in whatever he does.”

Reddix didn’t completely shut the door on playing football again, indicating that he’d like to play football for one of the military academies.

“It was a hard decision because football is something I really love to do,” he said. “If everything works out for the best, maybe an Army or Air Force recruiter will contact me.”

Reddix received advice from his uncle as he weighed his options, informing him of all the pros and cons of joining the Army.

“He was the one who talked to me through the whole process, which way to go and how to do things,” he said.

Reddix didn’t have a specific goal of what he’d like to do in the Army, but mentioned the possibility of becoming a military policeman.

“I told my mom I was going to the military, making a better decision for my life,” he said. “I think I can retire after a good 20 years. There are great benefits with joining the military.”