Name: Cedric Reed
40 Time: 4.8
High School: Cleveland
Rivals Rating: 4*, 5.8
ESPN Recruiting Evaluation ($)
Reed is a towering defensive end. He really looks all of his listed 6-foot-5 and even at about 240 pounds he has plenty of room to keep packing on bulk. He can be an impressive and intimidating figure when he plays standing up as a rush end, but he looks to mainly play from a "three"-point stance and that suits him best as he needs to be aware of his pad level. He is an active kid who has a good motor and works to get around the football. He is a physical kid and will flash the ability to play with leverage and when he brings his hands he can take on blockers and hold his ground. He does though need to use his great reach more to his advantage. He will be wild with his hands and likes to lead with his shoulder, but needs to shoot them and separate. Will come across the ball and does well taking on pulling linemen, but needs to squeeze down and stay square. He is a high cut kid who can seem a little rigid in the midsection and struggle some to quickly redirect. He is an adequate tackler who can look for the big hit and opt for the collision rather then wrapping up at times. He can be tough as a pass rusher especially when he gets a good get-off. Likes the speed rush and will attack the outside shoulder and sink in the rip and try and turn the corner. He will have some success with that, but can also be washed past the pocket. He also needs to be more active with his weapons and have a plan for when he can not run by blockers. Reed is an effort kid with nice size. He also plays tight end and can be a nice red-zone target and offensive tackle as a home is not a total stretch, but with his physical nature and some polishing can be a disruptive college defender.
Like 2011 LBs Kendall Thompson and Steve Edmond, Reed looks like he was cast from a DE mold or spliced together genetically in a research lab. A freak athlete who uses his long stride and relentless pursuit instincts to chase ball carriers over the entire field. The guy just looks good when he's running after people.
Reed's true value right now is as a run-stopping defensive end. He understands how to play containment in both passing and running situations and has the patience to occupy blockers without getting blown back by them. He's also good enough to make one on one tackles once the ball carrier is within striking distance (after he throws his blocker out of the way).
Once Cedric is locked on to an offensive player it's basically all over because that player is almost never breaking the tackle. Actually, he more of "engulfs" ball carriers at this point instead of really "tackling" them.
Reed's long arms will allow him to fight off blockers, use strong rip and swim moves, and ultimately make very difficult arm tackles from bad angles that most players don't have the length for.
He has a versatile body type and sufficient athleticism that he could be used at Texas as a 4-3 DE, 3-4 DE, or even a 3-4 LB if he doesn't gain much weight.
Technique, technique, technique. Reed isn't much of a pass rusher right now and has no go-to moves to get past defenders other than out-muscling or out-athleting them right now. He'll need to develop those before he can have a profound impact on the game and get big minutes.
Surprisingly for his athleticism, Cedric doesn't have a great get-off at the snap. His suddenness and short-range burst in pursuit and during tackles makes this even more shocking, so it's probably just a complacency thing or just a small detail his coaches at Cleveland haven't addressed. He compensates for being a bit behind in almost every play with his size and agility at the high school level, but that won't work when he gets to big boy football.
As listed above, Reed engulfs smaller players and isn't always the best at wrapping up and driving them down. He kind of just falls over with momentum and squashes them a lot of times. Tackling form will be something else to work on or bigger, faster, and stronger players will be able to escape him in college.
Target Body Type
There was a lot of talk of eventually moving Cedric to DT when he gets to college, but I just don't see it at all. He's the perfect height, weight, and physique for an incoming DE and we're already loaded with plenty of both true and convert DTs that moving yet another guy there to further weaken the already palpable DE depth seems, at the least, mathematically illegitimate.
So I expect (and hope for) Reed to stay at DE, where he can play both in the 4-3 and the 3-4, which in particular suits his current skill set. I can understand why A&M was pursuing the guy so hard late—he's a perfect, perfect fit in their 3-4 system as a DE once he puts on some weight. As is, he has a monster frame so he has a good chance to get to at least 270 or possibly even 275 at Texas as a DE by the time he graduates.
If he plays in the NFL he could be a 4-3 end or even a 3-4 LB.
Reed is in a somewhat suspect position as a UT recruit—he'll be expected to be able to come in and at least give garbage time minutes and possibly more from the outset due to UT's thin DE rotation. But he's a player that would benefit hugely from a redshirt year. Ironically, while many defensive recruits need the year to improve their body type, Reed really needs it from a technical standpoint, as well as getting accustomed to playing against athletes of his own size, strength, and agility. I would love to see us move Big Oak and even Greg Daniels back to DE, play Dravannti Johnson some there in pass rushing situations, and be able to RS Cedric, but I just don't see it happening.
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