Heart, Desire and Passion

There was limited to time to get some shut eye, but Christian Reed was too excited to sleep. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker and his father got home around 11 p.m. after another Notre Dame High victory, one Reed in fact had 2.5 sacks in, and the two of them had to be to the airport by six so they could make it to South Bend for an unofficial visit.

Reed tossed and turned, occasionally glancing at the time.

"I was real excited to go there," Christian Reed said. "I had never been there, and I always heard good things about the campus. A lot of teachers at my school are Notre Dame fans and every year a lot of people from my school go to Notre Dame."

The Lawrenceville, N.J. product, and one of the top players in the state in the class of 2009, could be the next in line.

As a junior, Reed made 92 tackles, 44 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage, including 11 sacks. He forced three fumbles, recovered one, intercepted a pass, blocked two punts and had 13 hurries and nine knockdowns in nine games. He was named first-team All-County, All-Conference and All-League by the Trentonian.

"UConn, Notre Dame, LSU, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson, those are the schools coming at me the hardest right now," Reed listed. He is getting loads of mail from several other programs, and is waiting for his first scholarship offer.

Reed won't be waiting too much longer.

As a sophomore, Reed played defensive end and had 71 tackles, 15 for loss with five sacks, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, an interception and two blocked punts. This past fall, he played defensive end in the season opener, but Notre Dame was upset, and the following week Reed found himself at his new outside linebacker position. That's where he stayed, and he fits the mold of that hybrid player Irish defensive coordinator Corwin Brown is looking for in his 3-4 defense.

"That first game I played at that position, I had 3.5 sacks," Reed said.

"Overall his motor never stops running," Reed's defensive coordinator John McKenna said. "Great work ethic. I'm also the strength coach and associate head coach, and he is a year-round player. I see him year round, and this kid works year round.

"He's a football junkie. I just came back from Green Bay, and he reminds me of someone from Green Bay. Just loves football.

"His first step quickness," McKenna later added. "His knowledge of the game. He'll get in there and watch film. He'll make plays because he recognized things. He has great vision on the field."

Reed had a great time on his visit to Notre Dame, when the Irish hosted Navy. He also took unofficial trips to Syracuse for the Illinois game, Maryland for the Virginia game, and Connecticut for the victory over South Florida.

"Notre Dame was my best visit I thought," Reed said.

Reed and his father landed in South Bend around 9:30 in the morning, and quickly got to campus.

"We went and met the coaches," Reed said. "I was talking to coach Brown and coach (John) Latina for awhile. Then they had to go to the team mass. While they were in the mass, we were touring the campus and the facilities. We went to the locker room, the weight room, watched a video on them, saw all the trophies. I saw the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship trophies.

"Then we went to the walk, and we watched all the players walk down with the coaches.

"Then the tour guides took us over to the stadium and the whole time we were with the tour guides we were asking questions about the school, and they told us about student life not as a football player but as a normal student at Notre Dame."

Even with the Irish loss, Reed was still wowed after the game.

"A bunch of the recruits went to the locker room, and we were standing there talking to the players," Reed explained. He reported a 3.3 GPA. "Two players were on their officials, and their tour guide was Jimmy Clausen. Coach Brown was shaking all the recruits hands and when he got to me he asked me, Christian can you help us out at Notre Dame? I said yes I could. He asked me if I was sure. I said I was positive.

"When coach Brown walked outside, he went up to my Dad amongst all the parents and asked my Dad the same thing. My Dad said yes he definitely could. He has something you guys are looking for in a player. Heart, desire and passion."

That heart, desire and passion has molded Reed into the player he is today.

He arrived at Notre Dame High a quarterback, but quickly landed on the varsity as a freshman linebacker. In three seasons, Reed said he has put on 20 pounds per year, and bench presses 285 pounds, and squats 540.

"I'll be up to 240 pounds by the season," Reed stated.

Reed keeps in regular touch with the Notre Dame coaching staff.

"I send coach Latina emails every two weeks to update them on how things are going," Reed said. "Coach (Rob) Ianello emailed me a couple days ago. Last Saturday, I talked to coach Brown."

Reed plans on attending the U.S. Army National Combine in early January, where he hopes to improve on his 4.8 second 40-yard dash time. He's not sure what camps or combines he's going to hit this summer.

"Camp wise, it's whoever is showing me the most interest and who is recruiting me the hardest," Reed said. Latina told him he'd be out to his school in late December or early January. "I think Notre Dame is pretty serious with the way they were talking to me on my visit."

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