Reed Ready To Throw It Around In Horseshoe

For many, the first chance to see Ohio State signee and late commit Verlon Reed throw the pigskin will be Friday night in the Ohio North-South Classic, but the Marion-Franklin product doesn't want it to be the last. While he's willing to do whatever he has to at Ohio State, Reed hopes the all-star game is just the beginning when it comes to playing QB in Ohio Stadium.

Verlon Reed wants to be a quarterback at Ohio State, and the Columbus Marion-Franklin product gets his first chance to shine under center in Ohio Stadium on Friday night.

The Ohio State-bound signal caller is one of two quarterbacks on the roster for the South squad in the Ohio North-South Classic all-star game, which for the first time is taking place the night before the OSU spring game in the Horseshoe.

But while Reed will be in the spotlight of what should be a big crowd under the lights in his future home venue, he doesn't think he needs to impress anyone with his play. After all, he's already been doing that for years on the south side of town.

"It's kind of important because I still have doubters out there, but I'm not out here to prove myself," he said Wednesday after practice in the stadium. "I'm out here to have fun but also to play a good game. I'm not here to prove anything. I've already proved everything. That's why I'm going where I'm going, so I'm not worried about having to go prove myself."

Reed will share quarterbacking duties in the game with Patrick Angle of Logan, who is bound for Youngstown State. The two split reps in Wednesday's practice, with Reed showcasing a nice spiral and good touch but a release that might need refined at the college level and some accuracy issues.

"I thought I did pretty well," Reed said. "The first practice, I was a little rusty. You have to get used to a new system, but once you get everything down pat you're pretty much free to go."

His most impressive play came late in practice when he rolled out of the pocket to his right and, before hitting the sideline and under pressure from the defense, stopped on a dime and lofted a picture-perfect pass to a receiver streaking down the sideline with a step on the defender.

"It was a pretty good play," Reed said. "In the game, that would be a very good play. Hopefully it happens, but I'm out there making sure we get everything right, get the chemistry together so we'll be ready for Friday."

Reed also spent time running the read option Wednesday, a nod to his dual-threat skills. In leading the Red Devils to the Division II state semifinals in 2009, Reed passed for 1,714 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 1,658 yards.

"He's a nice athlete," said South head coach Mark Crabtree, who works at Dublin Coffman. "What's hard about this game is the timing between the quarterbacks and the receivers. I hope we can make some big plays using his talents. I've seen him play, he's a good scrambler. He can do some things with his feet, but we're hoping he can do some things with his arm, too."

Reed said his talents scrambling have hurt him when it comes to a battle of perception, as many have tabbed him as a run-first QB during his three years as a starter. However, the 6-2, 190-pounder said that is not the case.

"(My greatest strength) is my athleticism, but sometimes that can be counted against me," Reed said. "People say, ‘Oh, he's not a passing quarterback. He wants to run and then pass it last.' I'm a passer first, and then I run when I have to as needed. That's the biggest strength for me."

With those skills in mind, Reed said that he doesn't feel this will be his last chance to take a snap in the venerable Horseshoe.

"There's just more to come," he said. "I don't feel like it's going to be my last game starting. I feel like when the time is right I'll get my opportunity and I'll be able to do it on the field. But whether that happens (at quarterback) or not, wherever I'm at I'm going to do the best I can to help my team out."

That team-first attitude is one of the qualities impressing observers about Reed, who was described as a role model and a pillar of the community on signing day ceremonies at Marion-Franklin. So far, Crabtree said he can see why.

"I didn't know a lot about him until I've worked with him, and I know this – I don't know what's going to happen with him as far as a football player, but as a human being, his character is awesome," Crabtree said. "My first impression is he's one of the nicest kids I've ever come across. He appears to be sincere, his work ethic is good and he's wanting to learn. He's a good kid. I've got nothing but great things to say about him."

Many members of the Marion-Franklin community should be on hand in Ohio Stadium to see Reed play in the nation's oldest prep all-star game, adding to an atmosphere Reed said he thinks will be electric.

It will help that Reed – the first City League player to sign with Ohio State since the class of 2004 – will be carrying the banner for Columbus. He's the only player in the game to attend a Columbus school, and the other four OSU recruits in the game will suit up for the opposing North squad.

"I'm the only guy from Columbus in it so there's going to be a lot of support," he said. "It's going to be a great feeling. You have to have great support in order to do your best."

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