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Penn State Preseason Top 10: No. 8 John Reid

The fifth-year senior cornerback is fully healthy and ready to lead the young secondary.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Citrus Bowl - Kentucky v Penn State Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s time for our annual preseason top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A 1st place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on. Monday began the countdown with Sean Clifford and Blake Gillikin tied for tenth, yesterday was Steven Gonzalez, and full voting results will be published at a later date.

How He Got Here:

Defensive back John Reid has been a critical part of the Nittany Lion defense since coming to Happy Valley in 2015 as a four-star cornerback from Philadelphia. Reid played in 13 games, starting two as a true freshman, and grabbed two interceptions. For his efforts, the 5’10’’ cover man was named to the ESPN All-Freshman team.

He continued his solid play in 2016, starting all 14 games at defensive back and finishing third in the conference in punt return average. Reid was named honorable mention All-Big Ten as a sophomore.

Going into his junior season, many believed Reid would take the next step and enter the conversation as the next David Macklin, Anthony King or Alan Zemaitis at Penn State. Unfortunately, an April knee injury forced him to miss the entire 2017 season.

Reid returned in 2018, playing in 11 contests and recording 10 pass breakups and two interceptions, one of which was a 44-yard return against Iowa. There were early signs that his knee injury had not completely healed early in the season, but by the bowl game against Kentucky, he appeared back to 100%.

What to Expect in 2019:

Reid may not fill up the stat sheet, but his cover ability is precisely the reason why he doesn’t lead the conference or country in any particular statistic. Teams are nervous to throw his way, and that should continue in 2019. His leadership may be his greatest asset, as he and Tariq Castro-Fields are the most experienced members of the secondary (with TCF starting just three of 13 games last season). Now that he is back to full strength and opposite another athletic and rangy defensive back in Castro-Fields, expect Reid to again post double-digit pass breakups and at least two interceptions. His play will certainly go far in dictating just how good this Penn State defense will be in 2019.