Clearwater Central Catholic defensive lineman Justus Reed is a two-sport star who has become one of the county’s biggest recruits with 17 offers, including Ohio State and Florida State in the past week. It’s a remarkable ascension considering the 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior did not have a single offer until transferring from Clearwater this offseason. Reed talked to the Tampa Bay Times' Bob Putnam about the recruiting process, the switch in schools and the opportunity to not only wrap up opposing quarterbacks but catch a few passes from his own.
What has been the biggest surprise about having this many offers in such a short time?
The offers have been coming really fast, especially in the past couple of weeks. I really had no idea it would be like that. I knew it would pick up more when I transferred, but I didn’t think it would be this big. I knew they would come around eventually, but now they’re coming so fast it’s hard to keep track of them all.
What is the most the memorable offer to date?
It had to be Ohio State because I had no idea they were even looking at me. They just kind of showed up one day and I talked to the coaches on the phone the next day and had an offer. And it came on my birthday (May 9 ). I didn’t get to talk to coach Urban Meyer then, but I’m supposed to talk to him (Monday).
How tough was it to leave Clearwater?
It was a difficult decision, but I knew it was one that was best for me. I was sad at first, leaving behind a lot of friends, but it was the right move.
How weird will it be to line up against your former teammates in the spring game?
I don’t know if it will be weird. A lot of the guys I knew from that team are gone, so it really will be a whole lot of new faces. But I’m excited for it, and it should be fun.
You play basketball and football. Which is your favorite?
When I first got to high school it was basketball. But I started playing football, and I liked it. By my sophomore year I knew football was my best route. It’s funny, I went to Clearwater for basketball and ended up becoming a football player.
What’s better, a dunk or a sack?
I definitely like dunking, but there’s nothing like hitting a quarterback. It’s the best feeling in the world.
CCC coach John Davis said he might use you as a receiver. How much are looking forward to catching some passes?
I did play some tight end at Clearwater, but I didn’t get to catch any passes. I was more of a blocker. I probably won’t play on both sides of the ball all the time (for the Marauders). But I’ll get to line up and catch some passes. It’ll be nice to see the end zone because you don’t get that too often playing defensive end.
What are your main goals this season?
To win — that’s the biggest one. We didn’t do a lot of that at Clearwater. I just want to get as deep in the playoffs as possible. All the schools and the offers will come around. But they’re talking about this being a state title-contending team, and I want to see how far we can get.