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IFallsRon

Who's that kid's father?

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Redlands, which will play Saturday at St. John's, features George Foreman IV.

Those glancing at this season’s Redlands football roster will notice one name that stands out for its familiarity.

That would be George Foreman IV. The 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore is the son of former heavyweight champion George Foreman, and the Hargrave (Texas) High School graduate is a pretty talented athlete in his own right.

Though playing behind juniors Zack Schafer and Jeff Stewart this season, Foreman has carried the ball 40 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He also has a 48-yard touchdown catch and eight tackles on special teams.

“I’m just trying to contribute any way I can,” said Foreman, whose team will face St. John’s in the first round of the Division III playoffs at noon Saturday at Clemens Stadium. “If that means throwing blocks, or carrying the ball here and there, I want to do whatever I can to help us win.

“They’ve given me a great opportunity to see time as a sophomore, especially on special teams, and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

Foreman is one of 10 siblings. All four of his brothers are named George Edward Foreman as well, meaning teachers had to devise ways to differentiate them while they were growing up.

“With me and my younger brother, teachers started calling us G-4 and G-5 and that’s what I went by in high school,” Foreman said. “Around the house, my nickname was Big Wheel. That’s what everybody in my family called me.”

After winning a gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics, Foreman’s father compiled a record of 76-5 in a professional career that spanned from 1969 until 1997. He dropped the title to Muhammad Ali in the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire in 1974. But amazingly, he regained it again at the age of 45 in 1994.

Yet despite his father’s success in the ring, his son said he was not drawn to boxing.

“I just started playing football and I really enjoyed that,” Foreman said. “Boxing is a big commitment in my family. It’s not something that you dabble in. If you’re going to do it, you have to do it all-out. And I didn’t get into it at an early enough age.

“My Mom hates it,” he added with a laugh. “So I’m sure her influence had a lot to do with me not getting into it as well.”

Still, Foreman said his father has always been supportive of his athletic endeavors.

“I’ve done everything from football to lacrosse to track and he loves to hear about all of it,” Foreman said. “I think he likes to experience it through my eyes.”

His father is an ordained minister back in Texas, and those duties prevent him from attending many of his son’s games in California. But the two always talk on the phone afterward.

“He usually starts out by asking me how it went and if we won or lost,” Foreman said. “He doesn’t like it if I complain about us losing. Once I did that and he actually got upset with me.

“He doesn’t want me dwelling on stuff like that. He wants my focus to always be on getting better.”

And yes, in case anyone wonders, he does use his father’s famous grill. In fact, he has two on his kitchen counter.

“My Dad wants to make sure I keep myself fed and he makes sure I have the tools to do it,” he said.

Though he comes from a famous family, Foreman’s teammates said you’d never know it by hanging around him.

“A lot of stuff gets made about that, but he’s just a regular guy to us,” Redlands junior quarterback Dan Selway said. “We just call him G-4.

“You wouldn’t know what his background is at all. He never talks about it. He’s really humble and just a class guy. He’s very popular with the team and he’s a great player, too.”

Foreman said his father is not likely to make the trip to Minnesota for Saturday’s game. But his mother wants to come, and his sister Michi, who resides in Minneapolis, may make the trip up as well.

“I’ve gone to visit her up there, so I’ve been to Minnesota before,” Foreman said. “I think it was in February or March and it was snowing so much. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.”

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