When former Camden Fairview and current Coffeyville, Kan., Community College wide receiver Dominique Reed takes the field Saturday, it will represent a second chance that he doesn’t plan to mess up.
Reed (6-4, 185, 4.3) – an Arkansas recruiting target - was sensational in 2012 as a freshman at Coffeyville with 47 catches for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns in just nine games.
But he did not play last season during the Red Ravens’ 4-5 campaign after he was dismissed from the team in January 2013 - a move about his immaturity than anything else.
“It feels pretty good to be back out on the field and to be given another chance by my coaches,” Reed said. “I don’t want to let them down and I have grown up.”
Reed, who was teamed with current Razorback A.J. Derby as a freshman, talked in an earlier interview about the aforementioned immaturity.
“I've had some issues to deal with and get through," Reed said. "It's been a long process but I'm happy that I've battled and dealt with it. I'm in a good spot now and it's taken a lot of hard work.”
Coffeyville head coach Aaron Flores, whose season opens Saturday at Iowa Western, is happy to see the transformation.
“I have been very proud of how far he has come in the last year,” Flores said. “He has come so far, matured so much. He now has the accountability that he did not have as a freshman. Instead of being late to meetings or practices, he is early. He knows the young guys are looking up to him and he has become a leader instead of somebody just trying to get by on his talent alone.”
Coffeyville wide receiver coach Angelo Mirando also lauds the new Reed.
“I just got here in January, but I can tell you that he has matured greatly just since then,” Mirando said. “He is taking care of his business in the classroom now and he is now a leader in our wide receiver room.
“He’s also working really hard in practice to improve every day,” Mirando added. “We are just trying to put some weight on him.”
Speed is obviously Reed’s biggest asset according to Mirando.
“I think his first step quickness, the way he gets to full speed so quickly is such a problem for defensive backs,” Mirando said. “It is a rarity that a guy his size can do that. His size also makes him hard to cover.”
Flores also likes what he sees from Reed’s route running.
“He is very athletic and he is very good at his route running – especially when he uses his technique,” Flores said. “Sometimes he just tries to get by on his great natural talent, but when he uses that with great technique that is when he is almost unstoppable."
Reed, the cousin of former Razorback DeAnthony Curtis, got an offer from Arkansas in mid-July and visited just over a week later.
“I had visited back when I was in high school, but so much has changed,” Reed said. “They have a new staff, much better facilities with the new football center and just a lot of great stuff.”
Reed has offers from Arkansas, Arkansas State, Southern Miss, Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette with interest from Florida State, Miami, Minnesota, Iowa State and others.
“The offer from Arkansas was big because I have always wanted to be a Razorback,” Reed said. “They are definitely still my leader.”
He was scheduled to take an official visit to Arkansas on Aug. 2-3, but the Razorbacks want to see a commitment to the classroom and the football team and plan to have him in later this season.
“I am not sure if I will come in during the season for a game or after the season,” Reed said. “We’ll just see how that goes. The main thing is I am just trying to show how committed I am to my second chance both in the classroom and on the field.
“I want to try and be the best wide receiver in the league and be the top recruit,” Reed said.
Reed will apparently be a May graduate instead of a December one.
“That’s what it looks like right now,” Reed said.
Coffeyville and NEO scrimmage last Thursday with Reed hauling in a touchdown pass.
“It went good,” Reed said. “I got to play some and get back used to being out there. I caught a touchdown pass on a fade route. I think our defense is going to be really good.”
Mirando said Reed made a leaping catch and then got his feet down in-bounds to compete a spectacular play.
“He caught a fade, just a beautiful play that the defender had to feel like he did the best he could,” Mirando said. “But with his speed and his vertical, it was just all about him being able to make the play and the guy not being able to do much about it.”
Flores thinks Reed's absence last year - he returned this January and went through spring practice - will be beneficial to both team and player.”
"As it was last season, we struggled and we are a much better team this season - especially when you add him back into the mix," Flores said. "He has grown as a player and a person and I am excited about his future and that of our team."
Reed believes Arkansas will be more balanced this season under head coach Bret Bielema and will move forward in the future.
"I haven't seen them play this season but I think they can throw the ball well," Reed said. "They'll have a better running game under Coach Bielema, but I think they can get it done through the air as well, and I could put them over the top. Being in the SEC would be a great opportunity for me."
Dominique Reed lines up in last Thursday's scrimmage with NEO.
Reed Ready To Run With Second Chance
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