A stellar freshman campaign

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Randolph-Henry High School and Charlotte County could hardly ask for a better representative at the NCAA Division I level of college football than Joe Reed.

He recently wrapped up his freshman season at the University of Virginia and did far more than just get some playing time.

In the whole Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), he finished No. 3 in kick return average, averaging 25.1 yards in 27 returns across 12 games. He was No. 5 in total number of returns and No. 5 in return yardage with 678.

Combined with 77 receiving yards on four catches and a few rushing yards, Reed ranked second on the Cavaliers in all-purpose yardage behind the team’s senior tailback, Taquan Mizzell.

“I was very pleased with my performance,” Reed said, reflecting on the season. He added that he has improved significantly during his time at U.Va.

Reed has also commanded the attention and respect of Cavaliers Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall, who described Reed as “exceptional in every way — great person, great student, exceptional player, and if my entire team was composed of Joe Reeds, we’d have an amazing program.”

Statesmen Head Coach Mark McPherson, Reed’s former coach, said he agreed with all of Mendenhall’s comments, and he was not surprised by how much Reed accomplished as a freshman.

“To me, Joseph was physically ready to play college football when he left (us),” McPherson said. “The story Joe told me is he had a bunch of success on the scout team (at U.Va.), and I think that’s what really opened up the coach’s eyes and gave him the opportunity to step in and do the things he did.”

Mendenhall praised the talent, poise, confidence and team-first mindset that Reed demonstrated.

“He’s willing to do whatever we ask him to do,” Mendenhall said. “Kickoff was one of those things, and his role will expand even more next year and continuing forward. I see him being integral in our success.”

McPherson saw a preview of Reed’s bright future when he attended U.Va.’s game against Virginia Tech and saw him return kicks, carry and receive the ball on offense and play on both the kickoff and punt teams.