Under the Radar

Every recruiting year, it's the same story. A number of outstanding prospects are overlooked by just about every school in the country. The reasons are often obscure and counterintuitive, but in the end the result is the same. Somewhere, a school picks up a potential impact player as a walkon. At West Virginia, that could be happening again in the form of a line prospect who will join the Class of 2005.

Lineman Tim Reed of Madison High School in Madison, Oh., was, like many, puzzled by the lack of Division I offers coming his way.

"Some schools said I was a little too short," said Reed, who stands more than six feet three inches in height. "That may have been a part of it, I don't know. I was frustrated by that, but I have put it behind me now. When I figured out that I probably wasn't going to get any Division I offers, it hurt, but it spurred me to work that much harder."

Making the lack of offers even more puzzling is the fact that Reed is a well-rounded athlete and student that checks in at 285 pounds, and has a number of honors on his trophy shelf at home. He was an All-Ohio First Team Division II selection, and also garenred all-county, all-conference and all-district honors as a guard on the offensive line. Throw in the obvious respect of his peers (he was elected captain of the North team in the recent Ohio North South All Star Game), status as an excellent prep wrestler, and the picture emerges of an outstanding collegiate prospect.

West Virginia began contacting Reed through the mail during his junior season, and stayed in touch with him throughout his senior year. And although WVU didn't offer him a grant-in-aid either, they felt strongly enough about him to keep recruiting him as a walkon after other teams fell away. He received several lower division scholarship offers, but a face-to-face meeting with head coach Rich Rodriguez sealed the deal for him to walk on at WVU.

"I learned about West Virginia's walkon program, and that was one of the things I liked about Coach Rodriguez. He was a walkon too, so he knows what it's like to be a walkon as opposed to a scholarship player."

Reed attended West Virginia's individual football camp last year, and also attended a couple of games during the 2004 season. He is a prospect on either side of the ball, but admits to liking defense a bit more.

"You get to hit people over there a lot more," Reed said with a laugh. "But I think I can play on either side. When I was at camp, I worked on the inside of the defensive line with Coach Kirelawich, but they haven't told me yet which side I might be on."

Reed capped his senior year by playing in the aforementioned Ohio All-Star game, which he enjoyed thoroughly.

"It was great," he said of his final high school experience. "We had a lot of fun. I got to hang out with different guys there that are going to colleges all over the country."

Part of the fun for Reed was competing with, and sometimes besting, players that received offers from other schools. Reed's high school coach, Mike Martin, believes that Reed was one of the standouts in that game.

"In many people's opinion he was the third best offensive lineman in that game behind Alex Boone and Rocco Cirrone," Martin told BlueGoldNews.com. "He pancaked a linebacker a couple of times that is going to Ohio State."

At the game, Reed made connections with another player that is heading to WVU.

"I also talked with (West Virginia signee) Ryan Brinson, and hung out with him a little bit. We didn't talk about WVU too much - it was more about the All-Star game and what we were doing that week."

Brinson isn't the only Mountaineer connection Reed has formed. He lives about ten minutes from WVU linebacker Chad Mayse, and always stops in to talk with him when Reed visits WVU.

"I know Chad from some of the awards banquets and things like that. We never played against each other, but he lives close. I always talk with him when I make the trip over, and he's told me a lot about the school."

One difference between Reed and Mayse, of course, is the scholarship that the latter possesses. There's always a unstated line between those on scholarship and those that aren't, and Reed acknowledges it serves as motivation.

"I think it is a difference, and it will give me the desire to work harder. West Virginia is the only school that recruited me, so I'm thinking I will have a little chip on my shoulder when I go in. I will have play with an edge."

Martin, who admittedly is a bit biased toward his own player, shares that opinion.

"He was a two-year captain, placed in the state wrestling tournament his last two years of school, is a great kid with a good family, and he does well in school," Martin said as he enumerated Reed's qualities. "I think Coach Rod stole one. He wants to prove that he can play on [the top] level. The all star game was the first step. I have never seen one of our kids work so hard to prepare for college football."

Echoing those comments, Reed said his mental approach is the strength of his game.

"My attitude is the best part of me. I have confidence in what I'm doing, and I don't let up or slow down at all."

Could there be a better midset for a walkon to employ?

As a preferred walkon, Reed will join the Mountaineers for preseason camp on August 5. With an eye twoard teaching and coaching after college, he plans to measure in secondary education with an emphasis in mathematics.

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