Stephen Reaves, the son of former Florida star quarterback John Reaves, is from Plant High School where he is one of the top quarterbacks in Florida and has offers from football schools around the country.
After passing for 1,780 yards with 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions as a senior, the 6-2, 180-pound Reaves says that he has a list of favorites at the moment beginning with the Auburn Tigers.
"This weekend I'm taking a visit to Auburn," Reaves tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "The 17th I'm taking one to Michigan State. I haven't set one up yet with USC (Southern California), but I think I might do that." Reaves says if he does go to Southern Cal, he will likely bump an official visit set for the University of South Florida and go to the Tampa college unofficially, noting that it is just 15 minutes from his home.
A visitor to an Auburn football practice in Orlando for the Capital One Bowl, Reaves says that he likes the way the program is headed and can see himself playing in orange and blue for the next few years to come. Despite his ties to the Florida Gators, Reaves has nothing but good things to say about the Tigers.
"One of the main things I like is the personnel," Reaves says of Auburn. "They have the players. They have so many freshmen and sophomore players. I feel like they can be a top five team and competing for the national championship in the next couple of years. I think they have an All-American freshman on the line already. They only have one senior on the line and one senior wide receiver. Everybody knows about all the younger running backs and what great potential they have. You can't ask for a better situation for a quarterback to come in and have such great players around you.
"That's one of the things I noticed when I went over to the practice on the 27th. They have so many great young players. I didn't watch them too much this year. I think I watched them one time on TV this year against Florida. That was it. When I made it to the practice I got a feel for what they do during practice and how they move around and what kind of offense they're really running. I liked everything about it really."
The original connection for Reaves to the Auburn program was with former offensive coordinator and new Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino. While the loss of Petrino will affect his decision making process in the coming weeks, Reaves says that the Tigers are still in the hunt for him even with Petrino gone to the Bluegrass state.
"I was really interested in Auburn in the beginning," Reaves notes. "When Coach Petrino decided to give me a call it really struck my interest because of what a great guy he was. He was a really nice guy, one of the best coaches I have met throughout the whole recruiting process. He took out his time to recruit me when it wasn't really his area, it was Coach (Greg) Knox's area.
"He's a really good coach and when I heard he was leaving to go to a school that had been recruiting me the whole time and he had been telling me ‘you can't go to Louisville to be a Cardinal, you have to be a Tiger.' He was telling me that and all of the sudden he was calling me up saying ‘you have to be a Cardinal now.' It kind of changed things a little bit, but not as much as people think. I have total confidence in Coach (Tommy) Tuberville that he'll bring in somebody good. I'm kind of looking forward to meeting the new OC when I go on my visit."
Planning to major in business in college, Reaves says that he'll be looking closely at the business schools and classes when he takes his visits this month. While Auburn, Louisville and Michigan State are all obvious with their connections to Reaves (former Louisville Coach John L. Smith took the job at Michigan State), it may not be as obvious the connection to the Trojans of Southern California until you look at freshman All-American wide receiver Mike Williams.
A graduate of Plant High and former teammate of Reaves, Williams has set the world on fire in Los Angeles and has talked his current coaches into giving Reaves a look at quarterback. Waiting on an offer from the Trojans, Reaves says that throwing to Williams in high school was a great chance for him to pad his numbers by throwing 10-yard passes which the 6-5, 215 Williams turned into long scoring plays.
"It was fun," Reaves says of playing with Williams. "We didn't throw it as much as we should have really considering we had Mike Williams playing on the team. We also had a running back on the team that is playing at South Florida now. We kind of mixed it up a little bit, but Mike wound up leading the county in reception his senior year. We gave him the ball whenever we could."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Reaves is carrying on a strong family tradition of playing quarterback. His father is one of the top passers in University of Florida history with 7,549 yards passing in just three seasons. That is the fourth highest yardage total in Gator history. His best season came in 1969 when he threw for 2,896 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Gators. His 24 touchdowns are fifth all-time in Florida history ahead of such names as Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel and Rex Grossman. Stephen's older brother David played against Auburn with Appalachian State in Tuberville's first game as Auburn's head coach in 1999...John Reaves was a first round draft pick of the Philadelpha Eagles and played professionally for 13 years. He later coached in college at Florida, South Carolina and Cornell before moving to the commercial real estate business in Tampa.