Remember AJ Reed?
Western fans probably do. December 2017, it was the first day of the brand-new early signing period. A few weeks before the big day, Antwan “A.J.” Reed, a studly offensive tackle from Muskegon, Mich. announced his de-commitment from Penn State. Quietly, Reed made his decision to go to WMU after a late visit, then signed his letter of intent with just about everybody else on signing day.
His score dropped a little bit after the fact (go figure) but at the time, everybody who paid attention to Twitter that day remembers what they saw. WMU, even after all of the great recruiting WMU has had in the past few years (mainly with P.J. Fleck), the Broncos finally landed a four-star kid. Again, that rating dropped to Reed being a high-three-star guy, but who cares? Point is: he’s damn good. And when you get that blue-chip stamp of approval once, then you’re stuck with it forever.
Reed never made it at WMU. Details of whatever the NCAA and “the high school” couldn’t figure out in the player’s favor never were made clear, but the thought six months ago was that Reed would finally hit the field in 2019. From the fans’ perspective, it’s just a lot of wait-and-see before he’s put on the roster.
But before Reed could officially join the Broncos and enroll in classes at WMU, (Tim) Lester said an issue needed to be worked out between the NCAA and the lineman’s former high school.
“I’ve talked to A.J., and he’s just sitting and waiting and waiting for the NCAA and the high school to figure out what they’re trying to figure out because it’s really out of his hands right now,” Lester said on Sept. 10. “It’s out of our hands, and it’s out of his hands.”
Reed attended North Muskegon as a ninth grader, then moved into the Muskegon Public Schools district for his sophomore season and won a starting spot on the Big Reds’ offensive line.
As a junior, Reed left Muskegon before the season to attend IMG Academy in Florida, but returned to the Big Reds midway through the season. He was granted immediate eligibility within MHSAA transfer rules and helped Muskegon to a state runner-up finish in Division 3.
He ended his Big Reds career with a Division 3 state championship in 2017, then committed to WMU and signed with the Broncos on Dec. 20, 2017.
The 6-foot-7, 320-pound lineman will begin his true freshman season next fall, with his eligibility following the track of an early enrollee for the class of 2019. (MLive)
Remember him now?
Well, he’s gone for sure.
Now he’s enrolled at ASA College in New York, which has done good things for offensive tackles trying to play at the FBS level. ASA College’s class of 2018 included 24 players transferring to Division-I schools, 14 D2, five D3, and five NAIA. Four offensive linemen from that class, Badara Traore (LSU), Johncarlo Valentin (Baylor), Malik Besseck (Hawaii) and Thomas Lopez (Ball State), ended up going to FBS programs. The other ones went to Youngstown State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Morgan State, Lake Erie College and Southeastern U.
Reed will play out this 2019 season with the Avengers, then will be able to graduate and bounce to a new program in May 2020 with three years to play and a redshirt year to give.
— Vinnie Rizzo (@vrizz52) March 5, 2019
Reed to ASA became news on Monday. By Tuesday, Reed received offers from Florida State and Tennessee. (Side note: former ASA head coach Joe Osovet is now Tennessee’s director of program development.) If all goes according to plan, he’ll rack up plenty more P5 offers. And hopefully at his next stop, there won’t be a mountain full of paperwork getting between him and the field.
By 247sports, Reed is WMU’s third-highest rated commit in program history (0.8858) behind WR/Return Schneider Julien (class of 2007, 0.8889) and WR Jamie Wilson (2012, 0.8878).