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Joe Reed picked by L.A. Chargers in NFL Draft

Former Randolph-Henry High School multi-sport star Joe Reed became a professional football player Saturday, April 25, when the Los Angeles Chargers selected him in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Chargers used the fifth pick of the fifth round and the 151st pick overall in the seven-round draft.

Reed, who graduated from Randolph-Henry in 2016, completed a successful college football career at the NCAA Division I-level as a kick returner and wide receiver for the University of Virginia (U.Va.) in 2019.

The Cavaliers reported Saturday that Reed was the first wide receiver drafted out of U.Va. since 2006, when Marques Hagans was taken by the then-St. Louis Rams in the fifth round.

Joe Reed’s football career has taken him from the Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen, as pictured above in 2015, to the University of Virginia Cavaliers and then, as of Saturday, April 25, to the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL.

In his high school football career, Reed rushed for more than 2,200 yards, passed for 900 yards and scored more than 30 touchdowns. In a major highlight that came during his senior season with the Statesmen in 2015, he rushed for 392 yards in a single game.

Reed made an impact for the Cavaliers all four years of his college career, finishing with a stellar senior season in 2019 in which he was the only player in the nation with 600-plus receiving yards (679) and 600-plus kick return yards (796), a U.Va. press release noted. He was also the only player in the country with 24 or fewer kick returns to go with 700-plus kick return yards.

The release stated Reed is just the 10th player in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history with 3,000-plus career kick return yards. He is the only player in FBS history with at least 2,700-plus career kick return yards with a career kick return average of 28-plus yards.

Reed won the Jet Award in 2019 as the nation’s top kick returner after leading the nation with a 33.2-yard kick return average, officials highlighted in the release. He earned first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America as a kick returner. Reed was also a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. He also earned membership to the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Society. 

The versatile Reed recorded 77 receptions and 679 receiving yards to go with seven touchdowns in 2019.

U.Va. officials made clear the historic imprint Reed left on the school’s football program.

He leaves U.Va. No. 1 in program history with 3,042 career kick return yards and five kick return touchdowns. His 77 receptions in 2019 ranked fourth on the Cavaliers’ all-time single-season ledger. Reed leaves U.Va. tied for ninth all-time with 129 receptions.

The Chargers finished 26th in kick return average last year in a season where they finished in last place of the AFC West with a 5-11 record. The Chargers start the new season with a new stadium. SoFi Stadium will open in July and will be home for both the Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.

See the April 29 edition of The Gazette for more coverage of Reed’s selection.