A lot has changed for Otis Reese in the last year. In March of 2016 he was an under the radar recruit from South Georgia with Louisville as his only Power Five offer. Now the Leesburg Lee County standout is a Michigan commit of nine months with an offer list that has grown to include Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and LSU among others. As exciting as that all has been, he has managed to take it all in stride.
"Things have been good,” said Reese. “Just chilling, working on school and just training hard and repeat every day."
"Coverage, footwork… just working on a lot… just being versatile. Never limit yourself. The (fastest) way you can get on the field is get on the field."
Michigan has shared its plan for Reese to see the field very early in his collegiate career. The Peach State star now checks in at 6-4, 205 lbs. and has the frame to carry another 10-20 lbs. without losing any speed. Most of the conversations to this point has been about Reese playing the VIPER position, but the coaches in Ann Arbor also discussed other ways in which they can take advantage of his versatility.
"I talked to (Coach Partridge) yesterday,” Reese said. “They want to move me around and stuff like that so they know I can play any position. I'm very versatile. I can go to safety, I can go to corner… I can play anything."
That message has been reinforced consistently by Reese’s primary Michigan recruiter and would-be position coach, Chris Partridge. The two have clearly developed a bond.
"(The relationship) is good,” Reese stated. “It's all love. We check on each other every week. They started spring ball and had a pro day, so they had a lot of football. We talk about a lot of stuff."
Partridge, however, isn’t the only coach staying in touch. Georgia recently hosted Reese on a visit and has significantly ramped up its interest. Visits to LSU and Alabama are also in the works. All that attention has caused the talented youngster to keep the door to his recruitment open a bit. That much was evident when asked to rate the strength of his Michigan commitment on a scale of one to ten.
“A six or a seven,” he replied.
"Colleges are all saying the same thing. They want me, they believe in my skill to play football, and I'm just blessed and humbled. (I’m) taking it in and (will) keep working, keep pushing my guys, pushing my teammates, and getting the best out of myself. Just keep working."
Holding off the recruiting surge from the southern powers will require diligence on Michigan’s part. The Wolverines will also likely be aided by the presence of two familiar faces in the Great Lakes State. Former teammate Aubrey Solomon will be on Michigan’s campus in a couple of months, and Reese’s brother Da'Quan Jamison plays college football a few hours away from Ann Arbor at Central Michigan.
"(Solomon) told me he was going to Michigan and I was like, ‘it's a big thing’,” said Reese. “All these guys (at the Nike camp) are asking about Michigan and all these guys want to come to Michigan now. Guys have been talking to me about this camp and Michigan and I tell them it's a great place to be and who got it better than us? Nobody."
After persevering through a coaching change and working to move up the depth chart during his first three years in Mt. Pleasant, things now appear equally upbeat for Jamison with the Chippewas.
"He's doing good. They started (spring ball Sunday)."
“He is kind of playing everything. They’ve got him playing corner and nickel, so he's versatile like me. Everything I got I learned from my brother. But right now they have him playing corner and stuff like that."
Having all three Lee County products playing close to one another not lends itself to each having a built-in support system away from home, but also extremely convenient travel weekends for family, friends, and coaches. But at the end of the day Reese must make the best decision for himself first. How it affects others will be secondary.
"To be honest I haven't even thought about (a timeline for shutting down recruiting) yet,” he said. “My mom told me I need to start making plans for that so that's one thing I need to start thinking about. But I most definitely will start thinking about that. I’m going to (finalize a commitment on) signing day or I’m going to (finalize a commitment) before at (an all-star) game or something if I get invited."
"I just want to see if (the schools) get the best out of their guys. I want to be the best and hopefully go to the league one day. If not, graduate from college because nobody can take that away from you. I want to see what college coaches are like (and) if (the players) are competing like dogs out there. At the end of the day it's all a brotherhood."