Reed led the nation with 1,740 receiving yards mark in 2001, a new single season record for the Southeastern Conference, and helped LSU earn its first outright Southeastern Conference championship since 1986. His 94 receptions for the year set a new LSU single season mark.
In all, Reed broke 15 school or conference records in 2001, helping LSU reach the SEC title game where they beat then-No. 2 Tennessee, 31-20. The win allowed the Tigers to advance to the Sugar Bowl where they beat Illinois, 47-34. LSU finished the season with a 10-3 record and ranked seventh in the nation according to the final Associated Press poll.
"The past four years I've had spent at LSU have been the best years of my life," Reed said. "Being part of an SEC Championship and winning the Sugar Bowl are two of my proudest moments. To be part of a program with a coaching staff and teammates that are so driven to succeed is something that I am so proud of.
"But at the same time, I am in a unique position and being fortunate enough to examine my athletic career. After talking to my family, coaches, teammates and several NFL executives, I feel that it is in the best of my interests and my family's that I forego my senior season and make myself available for the NFL draft."
Reed moved to receiver from running back in his redshirt freshman season and played at his new position for just 26 career games. He had 11 games with over 100 yards receiving in 2001 and a school-record 18 for his career. He set new SEC single game marks with 19 catches for 293 yards against Alabama and also established new Sugar Bowl marks with 14 catches for 239 yards against Illinois.
"I don't know that I've ever been around a player who competed on a more consistent basis and had a more productive season than Josh Reed had for us this past year," said LSU head coach Nick Saban. "His production for us, winning the Biletnikoff Award and being an All-American are things that are going to be a tradition of LSU football. This is a phenomenal young man who accomplished tremendous things for our football team over the past two years, and certainly contributed to a larger degree to the success that we were able to have."
Reed would not discuss particulars about what NFL executives told him about where specifically he would go in the draft, but he said there were things under his control that he could do to ensure that he would be picked as highly as possible. He said he will stay in Louisiana and continue his education while working with a speed coach, possibly Tom Shaw of New Orleans, to get ready for upcoming NFL combines.
Saban said NFL executives have very little data to go by for judging Reed, and the combines will be the first chance they get to make extensive evaluations of him as a pro prospect.
Josh Reed - In the Record Books
2001 Biletnikoff Award Winner for nation's top receiver
2001 Associated Press All-America
2001 Walter Camp Foundation All-America
2001 Sporting News All-America
2001 ABC Sports Online All-America
2001 Collegefootballnews.com All-America
2001 CNNSI.com All-America
2001 Football Writers Association of America All-America
2001 Football News Second-Team All-America
2001 SEC Offensive Player of the Week (Nov. 5, 2001)
2001 CNNSI.com's Mid-season All-America team
2001 Coaches First-Team All-SEC
2001 AP First-Team All-SEC
2001 Preseason First-Team All-SEC
2000 All-SEC First Team (AP, SEC Coaches, The Sporting News, Football News, Birmingham News, CSSE, Rivals.com)
2000 La. Offensive Player of the Year
No. 1 in the nation in receiving yards per game (145.0)
No. 1 in the nation in receiving yards (1,740)
No. 2 in the nation in receptions (94) / No. 1 SEC
No. 3 in the nation in receptions per game (7.8) / No. 1 SEC
No. 7 in the nation in all-purpose yards (1,860) / No. 1 SEC