As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
“Reed played QB at Thibodaux but will play WR and could even get a look at CB if the team needs him there. He is very elusive and has big-play potential when he has the ball in his hands. Getting his blocking and route running down will be something that Reed will need to work on but his speed and quickness should allow him to play early.” - 247 Sports
In terms of recruiting, the state of Louisiana has become known for having one of the most concentrated hotbeds of high school football talent in the country. Despite this, it’s one of the hardest states to recruit in for outsiders, as LSU locks down its home state better than anyone. In fact, over the last decade, the best player in the state has only left the Bayou twice: Trovon Reed in 2010, and Mark Barron in 2012. Reed graduated from Thibodaux High School, about an hour away from both New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He was one of the top all-around athletes in the country in the 2010 class, the type that you would never see LSU miss on.
But Reed’s heart was at Auburn. After receiving a ton of pressure to stay instate and play at LSU, Reed felt at home on the Plains. In doing so, he became the second offensive mega-signing for Auburn in the 2010 class, which also saw the Tigers pick up Mike Dyer. Over a decade after his signing, Reed still ranks as the top wide receiver to ever sign with Auburn. Expectations were, needless to say, ridiculously high when he got to campus.
Reed’s freshman year was over before it ever began in 2010. With his experience at quarterback in high school, and starting quarterback Cam Newton’s lack of starting experience, Reed was set to be the wildcat quarterback in OC Gus Malzahn’s offense. After suffering a “bone bruise” on his knee in fall camp that kept him out of the first two games of the year, Reed debuted against Clemson, where he rushed just twice for eight yards. Reed re-aggravated the knee injury, though, and took a medical redshirt that ended his season.
In 2011, Reed was able to contribute as one of the top backups at wide receiver, though he didn’t break out as much as fans wanted him to. Reed added 164 yards on 21 catches, good for fourth most receptions on the team. You could tell his knee still bothered him, though, as he didn’t look crisp in his cuts upfield - an important skill for a receiver who was featured in the screen and short passing game.
2011 and 2012 were both plagued with poor quarterback play, and what was once a bright star around Trovon Reed was quickly dimming. Just as all things 2012 went poorly, Reed’s numbers regressed in 2012. The third year junior caught just nine balls for 122 yards, though 40 of those yards came on one long touchdown against NMSU.
By 2013, Reed was becoming effectively buried on the depth chart. Most of the targets in an already run-heavy offense went to the likes of Sammie Coates, Ricardo Louis, CJ Uzomah, and Quan Bray, to whom Reed was a backup. The fourth year junior added only 98 yards receiving over the whole season, which ranked him eighth on the team. He just edged out Jay Prosch, who had 95 yards.
With one year of college eligibility remaining, Reed was faced with a decision - slide further down the depth chart while Auburn added Duke Williams and Melvin Ray, or flip to defense and play corner. Reed chose defense, and to everyone’s surprise, the veteran was actually a much better corner than receiver. While he didn’t start over Jonathan Jones or Jonathon Mincy, Reed was able to channel his receiver instincts and make three picks over the course of the season, including a huge one late against Kansas State to help preserve a 10 point lead.
Let’s take another look at that one.
Oh yeah, that was a wide receiver making that play.
From a production standpoint, Reed’s career has to be considered a letdown. Auburn has never really had a history of great receivers, and that perception isn’t helped when the best receiver they’ve ever signed was more productive in one season as a backup corner than he was over three years at receiver. Reed was always an easy guy to pull for, though, and I remember being happy for him that he was able to make a decent impact on the field in his senior season.
Reed went on to the NFL, but was undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. He bounced around a few different teams’ practice squads, and never really got much game action, but he was able to stick around for four seasons in the league.