Getting to know Florida State freshman cornerback Greg Reid

Back on February 8th of 2008, Greg Reid became the Florida Gators first commitment of the 2009 class.  361 days later, Greg Reid was a 'Nole (audio there from our friend's at Chantrant and the Mike Davis show, your source for South Georgia Sports).  What went wrong with Florida?  He wasn't sure they would use him as a corner initially, and Greg is committed to playing cornerback:  "What I'm hoping is to play defense. That's the side of the ball that wins championships. I love to cover and make big hits."   "Reid had said there were three things he liked more about FSU than the other schools: 1) Early playing time, with the chance to start as a freshman; 2) Closest to home for family and friends to watch him play, with Tallahassee only 85 miles away, while Athens at 240 and Tuscaloosa, Ala., at 380; 3) Playing alongside his high school teammate, Gerald Demps, who is also committed to FSU."

The promising corner prospect made the switch to the good guys because he wanted to be coached by the best and to be the man to bring FSU back to their dominant ways.  His recruitment was not easy, as UF did not want to lose the #2 cornerback prospect in the nation.  You'll remember that Florida State head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher spoke at Valdosta's Lowndes (GA) High School's Football Banquet. Fisher's audience included Lowndes defensive back Gerald Demps, an FSU commit and Greg Reid who had the Seminoles on his list of prospective schools. Reid and his teammate Demps were key pieces in FSU's mission to re-take the fertile recruiting grounds of South Georgia.

When he committed, this place went crazy.  The comment counter function broke temporarily as more than 400 people jumped on to celebrate the decision.

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Inside, we'll let you know more about Greg Reid as Tomahawk Nation conducts its first on the record interview with an FSU player!

First, the Vitals.

Hometown Valdosta, GA
High School Lowndes High School
ESPN Rating 85, #2 CB
Rivals Rating Five-Star, 6.1, #2 CB
Height 5'9"
Weight 175 lbs.
40-Yd Dash 4.45
Vertical 35"
Birthday: September 8th, 1990

Here's a scouting report:

From ESPN Scouts Inc (I paraphrased this)

Reid is an explosive, fast-twitch athlete with great speed and rare initial burst. He lacks great size but is well-defined and is physical when playing on either side of the ball. He's a very sudden, decisive runner who reaches top speed within a few steps. Great lateral quickness and is deceptively strong. Has great balance and exceptional feet. Uses his elite closing burst and anticipation skills to close extremely quickly on defense. Excels at jumping underneath routes and breaking under the ball on deep throws. Lacks ideal height, but has great leaping ability and ball skills needed to compete for jump balls. He's a threat in the open field with the ball in his hands. Has great foot quickness and loose hips. Can mirror in off-man coverage and shadow receivers out of their breaks without giving up separation. Transitions very smoothly out of his pedal and flashes excellent recovery speed. Has explosive plant-and-drive ability in run support, and he's a strong, very reliable open-field tackler. Raises his stock to another level with special teams play in the return game.

 

From the Under Armour All America Game Practices:

Corner Greg Reig (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes) showed great cover and ball skills throughout today’s practice. Receivers had a very tough time creating separation on Reid with his smooth hips and foot-quickness. I also saw his versatility as a return specialist and the dynamic skills he’s going to bring to the next level. Reid’s a kid who is not going to blow you away at a combine with elite size and speed measurables, but he flashed the intangibles and willingness to be coached that has shown me that he can get on the field early. 

Reid has been the best defensive back on either squad all week. He could play running back or wide receiver at the next level, but he has proven his worth at corner. Reid had an interception against all three quarterbacks on Friday and has a knack for finding the ball. He can make up ground to jump a route a lot faster than quarterbacks expect. He may not have great size, but he makes up for it with intelligence and quickness. He was the only defensive back able to hold Carter in check Friday.

(Reid is more quick than fast, though he is plenty fast)

High School Accolades

2008: Carried 118 times for 1,242 yards (10.5 average)... Caught eight balls for 234 yards (29.3 average)... Returned 14 punts for 267 yards... Scored 16 touchdowns. State Player of the Year recognition. Class 5A First-Team All-State selection.  Class 5A All-State selection as a junior.

 

Almost a half hour of video:

ESPN


 

 

(very good highlights of him playing corner)

 

GREG REID SR YEAR HIGHLIGHTS

Some senior year highlights, mostly as a running back.

 

With the end of the Summer B session, it is time for the freshmen football players to report.  One of those is cornerback Greg Reid, one of two five-star players FSU landed in their heralded 2009 recruiting class.

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via www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com


FSU head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher does not allow freshmen to be interviewed until they have made a significant contribution to the team.  As a result of this rule, the last known date can give interviews is June 19th (they report on the 20th).  I called Greg Friday to get his thoughts on starting his career in Garnet and Gold...

* The tape recorder in my office wasn't working.  I took some notes, but Greg talks pretty fast, so some of this is paraphrased.

*  I know other sites already did interviews with Reid, so I tried to think of questions that they did not ask him.

You could tell that he was really excited to report.  Those who have spoken with him over the past month said he couldn't stop talking about getting down to Tallahassee and our conversation echoed that. 

Greg will room with Xavier Rhodes, a defensive back recruit from Miami.  I meant to ask him how much they had talked, but forgot to.  Next time, I'll make sure to write out every question.  

Greg will wear number Five.  It's not the number he wanted at first, but he said that he's a team player.  I asked him why he went with five and he said that he wore it in his North/ South All-Star game and played well in it.  I hope Greg provides us with lots of opportunities to give each other high-fives. 

I had always been curious about how much information the recruits get before they get to campus.  Greg said that they gave him a workout plan (everyone gets one tailored to their specific needs courtesy of Coach Stroud), and a "ton of medical papers to fill out."  He said that he didn't get any playbook stuff.  I know that Quarterbacks get playbooks long before they get on campus.  I guess defensive backs don't need that much information in advance. 

While Florida State is known for aggressive man coverage from their defensive backs, they are a college defense and employ zone coverages as well, so I asked Greg how much (if any) zone his team played.  He said that Lowndes played mostly man, but would audible to zone coverage if the offense aligned in a certain way.  We got to talking about Florida State legend and current "Assistant Strength Coach" (read:  defensive backs coach) Terrell Buckley.  He said that he was excited to play for Buckley and we talked about how Buckley is quick to actually demonstrate exactly the technique he expects his corners to play.  Greg also praised the defensive backs coach at the ESPN Under Armour All America game, and said that he picked up some good zone instruction there.

I was curious who Greg grew up idolizing, and he said that he didn't watch much NFL, but actually grew up watching anyone on the Gators.  We talked about that and, well, let's just say he's really excited to show his stuff against Florida. 

A lot of our guys have nicknames (i.e. Jermaine Thomas is "MacMaine").  Greg said that someone down at FSU called him "G3", and he thinks it was Coach Trickett or Coach Amato, but couldn't remember.  Not sure that will stick. 

I asked him about Florida State's stud cornerback (and likely very high draft pick) Patrick Robinson.  He obviously has the boundary corner position locked up, but there is a lot of room for competition at the field corner spot.  I didn't want to put Greg in a position where he'd make a prediction he'd regret, so I asked him "if he won the starting job, what would it mean to play on the other side of Patrick Robinson."  Greg said that it would be a great opportunity, especially given that FSU puts their corners on an island and that since nobody throws at Patrick, that he'd have a lot of opportunities to make plays.  Reid is definitely coming in with the mindset that he wants to be the starter, but he said that his goal is to bring it every day and he hopes that's good enough to win it.  [Not exact quote, I was having trouble getting it all down].  Greg said he wants to make a name for himself and show everyone what he can do.

Speaking of which, Greg said he expects to make an impact in all three facets of the game- Offense, Defense, and Special teams.  He was a pretty good running back in high school as well as a standout corner (see the film).  He's very dangerous with the ball in his hands and he anticipates playing some offense as well (probably some bubble screens now that Bert Reed has moved to the "X" wide receiver position (Carr's old spot). 

In addition, he wants to return punts and kicks, something FSU definitely needs him to do since they lost the top kickoff returner in the nation in Michael Ray Garvin.  I expect Greg to return punts, but I'm not sure they will let him return kicks.  That would be a lot for a freshman to handle. 

We also chatted about some of the differences between high school and college ball.  In high school, elite athletes rarely encounter players who are their athletic equal.  In college, they see them every day.  Greg said he was excited that the Seminoles play the toughest schedule in the country, and knows that every practice is important when you face a quality opponent each week.   

If I could describe Greg in one word it would be "competitor."  Everyone I've spoken with about him says he just hates to lose.  A lot of athletes say that, but I get the impression that Greg is the guy who would ask for "best of 3, best of 5, come on, best of 7" if he was playing a game against you.  He's THAT GUY.  Greg won't do it on his own, but he's one of the most promising prospects in the 2009 freshmen crop.

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