On Saturday, Georgia conducted their first scrimmage of the spring in Sanford Stadium. While spring scrimmages can sometimes be hard to read (and, coincidently, UGA does not keep track of stats in spring scrimmages under UGA head coach Kirby Smart), defensive back J.R. Reed was one guy who really stood out on Saturday.
In his press conference afterwards, Smart praised Reed.
“Defensively, J.R. Reed had quite a few tackles. Of course, that’s not a good sign when your safety is leading your team in tackles because the ball’s getting back there too much.”
Smart went on to add that Reed could find himself playing into a potential starting role this fall.
‘’Absolutely he could have a role. Right now, he’s flashing speed, athleticism, toughness, and I’m tough on him. I’m out there every day, challenging this guy because I think he could be a really good player. He’s fast, he’s physical, he’s smart. But he hasn’t played in that many games in this system. If you take Dom [Sanders] and A.D.’s [Aaron Davis] cumulative years in the system, there’s so much there. But this kid is striking people; he’s running hard and playing hard. We saw some of that last year, but it’s hard on scout team because you’re not allowed all the time to knock ‘em out and hit ‘em. But he made a few flashes today in plays where he could crack the starting lineup if continues doing what he’s doing.’’
Reed is an ex-Tulsa defensive back, who transferred to UGA last offseason. He had to sit out last season due to the NCAA’s FBS transfer rules, but is eligible to play three years in Athens. He played only one season at Tulsa in which he registered five tackles and broke up a pass in the 13 games he appeared for the Golden Hurricane.
The 6-1, 194 pound Frisco, Texas, native possibly earning starting time is even bigger considering that UGA’s secondary will be deep and playing time will be hard to come by this season. After all, the unit returns talented and experienced guys like Dominick Sanders, Aaron Davis, Malkom Parrish, Deandre Baker, Tyrique McGhee and possibly Mecole Hardman among others.
Add to that mix early enrollees De’Angelo Gibbs and Richard LeCounte III as well as the rest of the star-studded defensive backs in the 2017 recruiting class, and Reed’s potential to crack the starting lineup is an accomplishment indeed. He is definitely a guy to keep an eye on moving forward as we move closer to the annual G-Day game on April 22 and, ultimately, the new season.