Recruiting: Sooners land juco linebacker

Junior college linebacker Mike Reed talks about his game and commitment to Oklahoma.

Mike Reed, 6-3, 245, 4.6, YUBA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CA.:

JH: Talk about your commitment to Oklahoma?

MR: "I have been talking to Coach (Brent) Venables, the coach who is recruiting me, and I just realized that Oklahoma would be a great place for me. I got recruited out of high school and I understand what happens in recruiting. Coaches and people will tell you just about anything to get you to go their school and it is hard to get straight information.

"Coach 'V' was always shooting straight with me, telling me who would graduate and what players would return when I got there. He told me who my competition would be. In fact, he said he had good linebackers and that impressed me. I know that he will graduate two linebackers after this year and I just feel I will have a great chance to play. And at a great program like Oklahoma, that was the best opportunity for me."

JH: Where are you originally from?

MR: "I am from Vero Beach, Fla. Vero Beach High School."

JH: How did you end up at Yuba Community College in California?

MR: "Oh man. That is a long story. I attended Reedley College coming out of high school, because I didn't have the ACT to get into the University of Florida. I had committed to Florida orally and I was supposed to go there, but I didn't have the ACT score. From there, I transferred out here (Yuba) and I didn't really know anything about the school. I just needed to leave Reedley. I got into a little trouble out there and I didn't want to play with their players any more, because they messed up my name.

"I didn't do anything wrong, but they messed my name up. So I needed another school to attend and the head coach here (coach Hall) offered me the opportunity. I took that opportunity and I told him that I needed a place to play and he gave me an apartment to stay in with three roommates. But he told me that would be my place to stay.

"I just came out to Yuba because I had a place to stay and he opened his arms, to me so I wanted to play for him. He didn't see film on me or anything, but he just heard about me and said he had a place for me so I went to Yuba."

JH: What kind of freshman season did you have?

MR: "Actually, this past season I played in only seven games. I played in the first four games and in the fifth game they set me up with a nasty chop block and they cut my knee out. They tore my MCL, but I was averaging 18 tackles per game. I guess they were scared of me so they set me up with a nasty chop block and cut me.

"Then I came back and I probably ended the season with 90 tackles in seven games. I had four sacks and four forced fumbles. I didn't have any fumble recoveries and or interceptions. I am just a banger man, I bang and cause fumbles. I don't get a chance to recover many, but I cause a lot of them."

JH: What kind of career did you have in high school?

MR: "My freshman year they wanted me to play varsity, but my mom wouldn't let me because I had never played football. I was too big to play recreation league, but they let me play optimist football. I always weighed five to 10 pounds too much, so when I got into ninth grade I actually had an opportunity to play and the head coach for the varsity would come and watch me practice. He would say, 'Hey man, I need to get you out here on varsity.'

"He tried to do everything in his power to get me on varsity, but my mom wasn't having it. She said I needed to play freshman ball so that I could get some experience. Then my tenth grade year I started on varsity at middle linebacker and I had 122 tackles. My junior I played running back and linebacker. I got hurt my hurt my junior year, but I came back my senior year and I was playing running back and linebacker.

"At running back I rushed for 1,010 yards and had 24 touchdowns. On defense, I played defensive end and linebacker and I was all over the place. I don't even know how many tackles I had."

JH: How many offers did you have coming out of high school?

MR: "I had five offers from Auburn, Central Florida, Southern Illinois, Illinois and Florida."

JH: Are you a middle linebacker or an outside linebacker?

MR: "I am definitely a middle linebacker. That is my heart right there. I am in the middle, and that is me all day. I love playing middle linebacker."

JH: What do you love the most about playing middle linebacker?

MR: "At middle linebacker you are not neglected for anything. You can go sideline-to-sideline, you can go straight up the field because the offense can't stop you from getting to any place. When you play d-end they can run away from you, but at middle linebacker you are in the center of everything."

JH: So you like to control things at middle linebacker?

MR: "I feel I am in control of everything. I love calling signals. That is what I am born to do. I have a knack for playing middle linebacker. I love it."

JH: You mentioned that you have already become very fond of coach Venables. I am sure you realize how successful he has been as a linebacker coach and all the great players who have won the Butkus Award, earned All-American honors and made it in the pros under his coaching?

MR: "Yes sir. I do realize that. He is a great coach and he has sent me some information about his career and the success the linebackers have had at Oklahoma. He is going to send me more information, but I already understand exactly what kind of coach he is and how good he is. He has great experience and I can sense that just by talking to him."

JH: Who did you pick the Sooners over?

MR: "I have schools coming from everywhere, but they are too late. Auburn has offered me, Utah, Oregon, Arizona, Southern Miss. and Central Florida. There are more, but it doesn't matter anymore because I am going to Oklahoma.

"I am being heavily recruited, but I don't really talk to all of them because coming out of high school I learned that they would say anything to try to get me to go to their school. So, I just don't talk to any other coaches. I have told Coach 'V' to not worry about me turning away from him and not being loyal, because I am a man of my word."

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