Boblett knew how special Reda was during junior high school when the kid was kicking accurately 40-50 yards as a 13-year-old kid. Reda's first love was soccer until they showed him how good he could be with a football. According to Boblett, "there's no weapon like him; he's that good."
"It makes any coach happy to see a kid get a full scholarship to a college. I'm so proud of him and his family right now," said Boblett.
Reda is able to kick FGs 65 yards and only one time during his high school career did a player return one of his long-distance bombs. "That happened because he was playing in a soccer tournament and didn't stretch before the game. The kids were in awe because it's never happened before," said Boblett.
How good is Reda? One media member there today told me, along with a few others, that if this kid gets stronger he could be a first-round NFL pick. To quote him, "he's something special; they don't give scholarships to kickers."
Boblett said, "Jason is a great athlete. I tried to get him to play other positions, but he wasn't interested. To show you the kind of player he is, one day during practice I told the kids if one of you could do 100 push-ups in a row we will not run once in practice today. Guess who got down there and finished the job? Jason Reda."
I asked Jason what other schools interested him. He answered Iowa, Northwestern and Northern Illinois. He picked the Illini because Ron Turner stayed in touch with him all the time, and they went after him hard. "I could care less about their 1-11 record last year. Just a couple years ago they were in a bowl game. People are going to have bad years; now it's time to turn it around."
Turner on Reda: "Jason has a great leg, as good as I have seen in a long time. He is another player that we had the luxury of seeing in camp. What we discovered is that he has leg strength that is hard to find in somebody at that level. He has tremendous potential and upside."
Reda knows the kickers that just left Illinois and understands he may get the job right away.
Reda told me he plans to major in business at Illinois and will not start classes until August.