Our countdown continues with a returnee from injury that many have forgotten is one of the Big Ten’s best defensive players - John Reid
#9 QB Tommy Stevens (tie)
#9 DE Ryan Buchholz (tie)
How He Got Here
Reid was a four-star recruit in the class of 2015 out of Philadelphia’s St. Joe’s Prep.
He chose the Nittany Lions over schools such as Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State and made an impact immediately for Penn State as a true freshman as both a defensive back and a punt returner in 2015.
He showed incredible quickness and agility and displayed some of the best hips of any defensive back in the conference.
Reid’s ability to turn and run with receivers, break on a ball and make plays on the ball once it’s in the air made him one of the best in the Big Ten almost immediately. He was named to ESPN’s freshman All-Big Ten in his first year and only got better in year two, garnering honorable mention All-Big Ten selections from both the coaches and the media as a sophomore.
Heading into his junior year, many were discussing Reid as a potential early entry into the 2018 NFL Draft is he could continue to improve.
Then disaster stuck.
Reid suffered a severe knee injury in 2017 spring practice that cost him his entire junior season. Luckily, he still had a redshirt year to burn and did so en route to returning to full health.
All indications point to Reid being back to 100 percent in 2018 and ready to go for the season ahead.
What to Expect in 2018
On top of all the aforementioned physical traits, Reid is also one of the smartest players on the team and likely in the conference. He’s a data sciences major who spent his summer away from the team last year interning with Intel in Portland, Oregon.
Reid’s intelligence translates on the football field as he’s able to read (pun intended) the game at an incredibly high level. Much like DaeSean Hamilton previously on the offensive side of the ball, his elite physical traits combines with elite football IQ to make him a fantastic player.
Another element of Reid’s game that makes him attractive to NFL suitors is his ability to play all three of the corner positions: boundary, field or slot.
Due to his relative small stature by today’s standards (Reid stands a 5-foot-10, 185 pounds), he’s considered by many to best fit in the slot where he’ll deal with smaller, quicker wide receivers.
But Reid’s ball skills and tenacity make him equally adept on the outside at either the boundary or field spot and allow him to lineup across from the opponent’s best wide receiver, regardless of that receiver is lined up.
As Penn State deals with a massive amount of turnover in the secondary in 2018, Reid should help make the transition quick and painless.