Sept. 9, 2006
Adjust. If there's been one word that sums up Kerry Reed's football career, that's it.
He has the natural athletic ability that goes along with every other Division I receiver, but Reed also has something else. He has the ability to persevere and thrive as the conditions change around him.
Unlike many of the Spartans, Reed's roots aren't in the Midwest where weather from one October Saturday to the next can seem like the difference between the climates of the Bahamas and the North Pole. His roots lie in the sun-splashed fields of Miami, Fla., where he played at South Dade High School. He earned all-county honorable mention honors, but at the end of the year, the best offer on the table wasn't from one of the colleges in the sun belt, but a junior college in the heart of the Midwest. It wasn't in a city like Miami, with a metro population of 3.5 million people. It was Coffeyville Community College, in a small city of 11,000 in southeastern Kansas.
"It was kind of hard," Reed said. "I had to adjust to the atmosphere, to the situation I was going to, to a place I had never been. I had to adjust to the weather. I'd never been away from Miami and seen a place like that."
Reed was a junior college star. He was a J.C. Grid Wire honorable mention All-American who racked up nearly 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns in his two seasons at Coffeyville. Not only was he a star, the team was one of the best in the nation, as Coffeyville lost just five games in his two seasons.
At the end of his two seasons, he was ready to adjust to something new, transferring to Michigan State in January 2005.
"It got me mentally and physically prepared for what I was coming into," Reed said of his days at Coffeyville. "I had to be out there for a year and a half, but it was just football and school. I had to stay focused."
Now, along with a receiving group that includes Jerramy Scott, Matt Trannon and Terry Love -- all of whom had more than 400 yards receiving last season - Reed is part of a four-headed passing attack. But he's adjusted, thanks not only to his fellow receivers, but also quarterback Drew Stanton.
"I think at any given time, we can get the ball to any one of them and big plays have a chance to happen," wide receivers coach Blaine Bennett said. "I think we'll continue to spread the ball around. I think the numbers will be close among them, but I really think that Kerry Reed has the best hands of all four."
Maybe then it's no surprise that perhaps his most memorable play in the Green and White uniform is one in which he had to make adjustments. As the first half wound down in last season's game against Michigan, Reed caught up with a Stanton screen pass, then found a hole as he ran further down the field and broke free, running 61 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 21.
"It was a great feeling," Reed said of his touchdown against the rivals from Ann Arbor. "It was overwhelming. I have to thank my teammates for everything they prevented, all their blocking."
Reed had other big games for the Spartans, including catching six passes for 80 yards in a 46-15 rout of Indiana and grabbing five passes at Notre Dame. In all, he hauled in 31 passes, finishing fourth on the team with 438 yards and also found the end zone five times.
Even with all the adjustments Reed's made in the past, Bennett said that Reed's hard work has stood out on the team. After all, he's still adjusting to a Spartan offense he joined just a year and nine months ago.
"He comes to work every day," Bennett said. "He's very smart and can play all four receiving positions. He's a hard-worker who runs well, catches well and understands the game. I just think that he is a big-time talent."
Thanks to an offense loaded with one of Michigan State's best quarterbacks in school history in Stanton, a backfield featuring sophomore sensation Javon Ringer, and four wideouts who had more than 400 receiving yards in 2005, Reed said he isn't the only one who has big-time talent.
"Our offense is great," Reed said. "If everybody stays healthy, I think we have a great chance to win the Big Ten." There is one thing Reed said he feels he doesn't need to adjust--his decision to transfer to Michigan State after his time at Coffeyville. "This has been great," Reed said. "If I had the choice to do it again, I think I would."
No adjustment needed.
By Joe Guistina, MSU Sports Information intern
Kerry Reed has emerged as one of the Spartans' top playmakers in the passing game.