Gunning for the Top, Frosh QB Kyle Reed Arrives

From the football bleachers at McClymonds High, one can look right and see the downtown Oakland skyline; left the Oakland/Berkeley hills. Although the geographic distance from this working-class west Oakland neighborhood to the University of California is just a few miles, for Kyle Reed it's a journey that will have taken four years.

[Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Bear Insider Magazine. Further excerpts will be published here periodically.]

"Wherever my coach wanted me to play, that's where I'd go," Reed said. "I just wanted to be on the field, it wasn't like, "aw, man, I want to be a receiver.'"

Although he's only played the position for a few years, his raw skill and willingness to learn have drawn considerable notice - he's one of a select number of high school quarterbacks who works with local quarterback coach Roger Theder, this past summer, the 6-2, 195 lb. Reed was invited to the EA Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, and this June, he made a verbal commitment to accept a football scholarship to attend the University of California. "It's all a little overwhelming how everything's come so fast," said Reed. "I started playing the position late and had to grasp things very fast; people saw potential in me."

One of the people who saw potential in Reed was McClymonds head coach Alonzo Carter. Although the Warriors struggled in 2003 due to having a young squad, in 2004 he's built McClymonds into one of the top teams in the East Bay.

"When he was a freshman, I gave him #18," Carter said. "I told him that he reminded me of Peyton Manning but to reach that level he had to rise to the challenge. Not just in a football sense, but in an academic sense too. The last thing a quarterback wants to be challenged on is his intelligence and you don't want to give anybody any room to think that you're not serious about this."

Reed has met the challenges - from learning the position to overcoming an injury to facing off with high-caliber competition - which thrills Carter.

"Kyle's a hard worker, he's humble, coachable and has a great deal of personal integrity," Carter said. "He's always on the chalkboard, he's always watching film, and it makes other guys have to follow suit. He's told me, ‘Coach, I want to be a quarterback, I don't want to be an athlete who's trying to be a quarterback.'"

His appetite for learning paid off quickly - sessions with former Cal head coach Theder helped him with the fundamentals. Attending a Cal camp following his sophomore year, his talent level wowed the coaching staff into making a scholarship offer. Then came a junior year where he was forced to miss half the season with a broken thumb and the team struggled to a 2-9 record.

"That year was really tough," said Reed who threw for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2003. "We had high expectations that year and it was devastating to sit out and see the team lose without me. I stuck with it, though and never missed a practice and was always with my teammates."

(to be continued)


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