Brothers Kenneth Redmond ’96 and Jonathan Redmond ’01, were sitting in the Rockola Cafe in Raleigh. They were on their recruiting trip to NC State, and head football coach Dick Sheridan had taken them out to dinner. But because they had grown up in Seneca, S.C., the only school they knew anything about was Clemson University, NC State’s Homecoming opponent on Saturday.
“I kind of nudged Jonathan and asked who are these people,” Kenneth says. “He said, ‘That’s the head coach, Kenneth.'”
The two laugh about the story now, but they say it speaks to how insulated their world had been growing up in South Carolina. “I remember my official visit, we didn’t know if they were the Tar Heels or the Wolfpack. I had to ask on my visit.” Jonathan admits. “We were just old country boys. We had a lot of learning to do.”
The Redmond boys did commit, and brought their strength — and coon dogs they’d take hunting while everyone else Jonathan Redmond. Courtesy of NC State Athletics.
partied — to Raleigh to help anchor State’s offensive line. Though Kenneth is a year older than Jonathan, they say they told all colleges who recruited them, including Clemson and Ole Miss, that they would be a package deal. Sports Illustrated recounted the story in 1995.
NC State was the first school to honor their wishes. “If we can’t be the corn, we sure ain’t going to be the shucks,” Jonathan remembers thinking. “Everything we had was ‘ours.’ When we got a Christmas gift, it was to Jonathan and Kenneth. We pulled out of the same underwear drawer for years. ”
Once at State, the brothers shined beside each other on the offensive line, Kenneth playing center and Jonathan playing guard. Their mother, who worked third shift in a cotton mill, missed only one game. She would work all night on a Friday night, drive from Seneca to Raleigh in the morning, go to the game and catch a couple of hours of sleep on their dorm room couch. Then she would drive back to Seneca to be at work at midnight.
While a lot of their teammates developed a hatred for their in-state rivals, UNC-Chapel Hill, the ire of the Redmond boys ire always turned back to Clemson. That was their “in-state” rival. “If there’s one thing we enjoy watching, it’s watching the Tigers cry,” Jonathan says. “I wouldn’t pull for Clemson under any circumstances.”
Kenneth is a bit more reserved with his feelings — for good reason. In 1994, after NC State defeated Clemson, 29-12, in Death Valley, Kenneth met the woman who would become his wife. She was the roommate of Kenneth’s childhood friend who was dating a Clemson player. Kenneth talked to his friend and his future wife, and the rest is history.
The Redmonds still love NC State — and root against Clemson. Kenneth owns Oakway Farm and Garden Center, a livestock, garden and farm feed store, in Westminster, S.C. Jonathan owns Redmond Boys, which sells fresh produce, in Seneca. The one thing they’ve never sold is the country in both of them.
“Look back and find our senior salutes somewhere,” Jonathan says. “You’ll see I wanted a country store where I could sit back and chew tobacco and swap stories.”