Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Corey Sobel challenges tenacious stereotypes in this compelling debut novel, shedding new light on the hypermasculine world of American football. The Redshirt introduces Miles Furling, a young man who is convinced he was placed on earth to play football. Deep in the closet, he sees the sport as a means of gaining a permanent foothold in a culture that would otherwise reject him. Still, Miles's body lags behind his ambitions, and recruiters tell him he is not big enough to compete at the top level. His dreams come true when a letter arrives from King College.
The elite southern school boasts one of the best educations in America and one of the worst Division One football programs. King football is filled with obscure, ignored players like Miles -- which is why he and the sports world in general are shocked when the country's top recruit, Reshawn McCoy, also chooses to attend the college. As brilliant a student as he is a player, the intensely private Reshawn refuses to explain why he chose King over other programs.
Miles is as baffled as everyone else, and less than thrilled when he winds up rooming with the taciturn Reshawn. Initially at odds with each other, the pair become confidants as the win-at-all-costs program makes brutal demands on their time and bodies. When their true selves and the identities that have been imposed on them by the game collide, both young men are forced to make life-changing choices.
"Every now and then, a book comes along that changes our understanding of what we once considered known and true. The Redshirt does that for football, the literary sports novel, and modern American masculinity all at once. Undersized, closeted Miles Furling and prodigy Reshawn McCoy want from life more than they can comprehend, but it's only together, on the college gridiron and away from it, do they begin to understand what those pursuits fully entail. Corey Sobel the ex-footballer has written a violent and tender elegy to the sport and life that shaped him, but it's Corey Sobel the artist you should heed. He's a keen, creative force, and The Redshirt promises to be one of 2020's finest debuts." -- Matt Gallagher, author of Empire City and Youngblood