NFL safety J.R. Reed to join Leavitt's staff
USF coach Jim Leavitt has filled the final opening on his coaching staff with a flourish, naming former USF and NFL safety J.R. Reed as a defensive graduate assistant who will work with the Bulls' defensive backs.
"Excited about J.R. Reed joining us to coach the secondary," Leavitt said on his Twitter.com page. "He was a great player here and better person. He will coach with passion."
Reed, who is USF's career interceptions leader with 18 and also holds the school record with two returns for touchdowns in a game, has played for the Eagles, Rams, Falcons and Jets in four NFL seasons. He was a standout at Hillsborough High before playing at USF, and returned to the NFL in 2006 after a serious leg injury that forced him to miss a year of football after making it to the Super Bowl as a rookie.
"He's a natural-born coach," said Earl Garcia, who coached Reed at Hillsborough. "Very bright, and a tremendous player. He will be a great coach, and I'm excited for USF."
Reed, 27, remains on the NFL radar as an unsigned free agent and could leave his position at USF should an NFL team offer to sign him, but Leavitt said Tuesday that Reed has accepted the job and will report to USF next weekend. Reed played five games for the Eagles last year and finished last season on the Jets' roster.
Reed will work closely with first-year defensive coordinator Joe Tresey, who also oversees the defensive backs. His expertise will come in handy as USF will have three first-year starters in its nickel secondary, with Jerrell Young, Quenton Washington and Jon Lejiste as the front-runners.
We go back to the Times archives to find this game story from 2003 -- arguably the best single-game performance in USF history, as Reed intercepted three passes and returned a kickoff and fumble recovery for touchdowns in a season-ending win at Memphis.
(Mug from Getty Images; Times archive photos by Chris Zuppa and Stefanie Boyar)