An unrated defensive tackle from Goldsboro High School in North Carolina, Jarran Reed was recruited just about as much as I was in high school, and I never even played football. The unknown 290-pound monster enrolled into Hargrave Military College for his freshman year, and started to gather some attention from the recruiting world after an eye-opening debut campaign.
Unfortunately, Reed did not qualify academically, and ended up going to the junior college factory: East Mississippi Community College. It was here that he met and befriended D.J. Pettway, a former Alabama lineman who had been kicked off the team for a robbery incident. Here, Reed quickly vaulted to the top of the JUCO rankings, was a consensus 4-star player and considered to be the 2nd best overall JUCO defensive tackle.
Sold on the tales of glory of the promised land of Tuscaloosa from his friend, Pettway, Jarran Reed committed to play for his final two years of eligibility for the Crimson Tide. After quickly establishing his presence by being named a starter in his first A-Day game, Reed was then arrested for DUI in July of 2014. After making amends and working his way back to playing time, he entrenched himself as a permanent, disruptive starter along the defensive line. He rewarded the team with 55 tackles, the most by any Alabama lineman since Wallace Gilberry, 6.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and 5 batted passes.
With his disruptive play and strong stat sheet, Reed almost left for the NFL after just one season with Alabama. Although it was never revealed what draft grade he received, most projected him to be a second to late-third round pick. However, he decided to stay for his senior year with teammates A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen to make up the most formidable defensive line seen in college football for many years.
Reed matched his junior output with 57 more tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a sack, and earned a name as an immovable run-stopper, while still being a disruptive player in the backfield. In one of his more viral moments, Reed famously tackled Nick Chubb with one arm, while fending off an offensive lineman with the other.
With the conclusion of the season in a national championship, and being a stalwart in one of the most feared front sevens in college football history, Reed stands a good chance of being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, rated only behind defensive tackles such as Robinson and Robert Nkemdiche. In what amounted to be his grand finale to his college career, he chased down the Heisman finalist, Deshaun Watson, and knocked the ball out of his hands before the dynamic quarterback could make it to the endzone on a 2-point conversion near the end of the game.
It took numerous stops and lessons learned, but through dedication and resiliency, Jarran Reed went from an unknown recruit in high school to a potential first round pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
Jarran Reed, we salute you.
Ed. Note: Jarran Reed was an All-SEC Honorable mention in 2014, and this season earned 2nd-team All-SEC honors. Reed earned his degree in December, with 28 other members of the Tide football team.