Distinguished in any group

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

There are a lot of superlatives one could offer up about former Randolph-Henry High School multi-sport standout Joe Reed, who is currently starring on the gridiron at the University of Virginia. I’m going to use this column to offer up a few bits of praise for Reed.

From January 2012 until April 2016, I was a sports reporter in Suffolk, which is part of Hampton Roads, and during that time, I became accustomed to covering larger schools that were part of the Virginia High School League’s Class 3, Class 4 and Class 5. (The largest schools in the state are part of Class 6.) Because the schools were larger, there was more of everything — more money, more resources, more sports offered, more players on teams, etc.

But just because a school has less of all of those things doesn’t mean it can’t produce student-athletes with remarkable talent and character. Reed is outstanding evidence of that.

A consequence of all the factors I mentioned above about the schools in Suffolk translated into there being more student-athletes that went on to play NCAA Division I athletics. Focusing on football, there were many that did go on, but I mention this only because Reed still distinguishes himself in that group.

Most who “go D1” do not end up getting an enormous amount of playing time during their college careers, much less establish themselves as a major threat when they touch the ball, but Reed has done the latter without much of the former.

Just a glance at Virginia Cavaliers box scores this year shows that Reed has been doing a lot with the relatively opportunities he gets on offense.

He is third on the team in receptions across 12 games, totaling 24, but he leads the Cavs in receiving touchdowns, with seven, and in average yards per catch, with 19.0. He also has 26 kick returns for 707 yards and one touchdown, averaging 27.2 yards per return.

I’ve heard from more than one person that the Cavs need to be giving him the ball more. I agree.

Hopefully those opportunities will come in his senior year, but one more big chance to shine remains this year in the form of a bowl game. Virginia (7-5), which has steadily improved over the past three years, has earned the right to face the University of South Carolina (7-5) in the Belk Bowl at noon Saturday, Dec. 29, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I know we all hope Joe will stand out on the gridiron, helping the folks down there to become acquainted with another Charlotte up north. Knowing Joe, he probably will.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@The CharlotteGazette.com.