January 20, 2010

In the film room: Verlon Reed

Perhaps no senior prospect from Ohio bolstered his stock more this past fall than Marion-Franklin quarterback Verlon Reed. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound signal caller was basically just a blip on the radar for most of the top programs in the Midwest heading into his senior season. That all changed after the talented athlete led his Red Devils squad all the way to the Division II Final Four. Even in a tough loss in the Final Four, Reed put his talents on display by going for over 200 yards both through the air and on the ground. Shortly after that performance schools such as Boston College, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State all turned up the heat with the Buckeyes being the first to offer and later land his verbal commitment.

In this edition of 'In the Film Room', we take a look at some footage of Reed during Marion-Franklin's playoff run. The footage reveals a dynamic playmaker from the quarterback position and an athlete that could also project to multiple other positions on the football field.

What he does well…

  • The first thing that jumps out about Reed on film is his outstanding speed. All summer long, Reed was running in the low 4.4's at various college camps and that speed clearly transitions to the football field. Reed simply has the ability to erase pursuit angles and when he gets a step in the open field, it's over. Two of the absolute fastest and most athletic defenses in Ohio; Winton Woods and Brookhaven, had no answer for Reed's speed in the open field.

  • Another major plus that Reed brings to the table is uncanny field vision and instincts. Whether he's scrambling away from pressure or carrying the ball on designed runs, Reed has an outstanding ability to see the play develop a split second before the rest of the players on the field. Some of the cuts that he makes in this clip just are cuts that many players either would not be able to make or would not be able to visualize until it was too late.

  • Probably the most underrated attribute that Reed possesses is intelligence. Seeing him live multiple times this season, along with the film evaluation, Reed takes very good care of the football and for the most part does not force throws that aren't there. The stereotype of the dual-threat quarterback that makes poor decisions in the passing game does not apply to Reed.

  • Though he's not a totally finished product as a quarterback, there are definitely a lot of encouraging things on his film. First and foremost, he throws a great deep ball, often hitting his receiver in stride and almost always putting the ball on the proper shoulder of his receiver. Even many of the misses on his film were "good misses" in that they were thrown in the right area. Also, the ability to make all of the necessary throws is there. On the clip, there's a play where he throws a beautiful deep out against Brookhaven from the right hash to the opposite sideline so we're not just looking at an athlete playing the quarterback position.

  • Another important factor that Reed brings is versatility. If the quarterback position does not work out, Reed clearly has the ability to transition to either wide receiver or safety. Having a player that projects well to multiple positions is never a bad thing to have on a roster.

  • Areas for improvement…

  • While he's definitely not a total project as a quarterback, there are some things he can work on in terms of his mechanics and footwork. At times, Reed has a tendency to sort of "shot put" the ball which can cause it to float on him. He could also stand to raise his release point a few inches.

  • In terms of his footwork, Reed will need to work on his drops. Marion-Franklin ran a lot of spread the last two seasons so because of that, Reed doesn't have a ton of experience from under center. Also, getting better depth on those drops from under center will be an area that he will need to work at.

  • Finally, and this is true for every young quarterback, Reed will need some time to improve on reading blitzes and coverages. Playing in the Columbus City League, Reed was not thrown into too many situations where he was facing complex defensive schemes or blitz packages so there will be a period of adjustment in that regard.

  • Outlook:

    There's no doubt that Reed was one of the best football players in Ohio this season. Dominating his league competition is one thing but Reed actually improved his play on the big stage in the playoffs which was a major cause of the increased interest that he received from college coaches this fall and winter.

    With outstanding size, speed, and athleticism, Reed is one of the gems of the 2010 Ohio class and a prospect that has the potential to be a big time playmaker from the quarterback position. While there is some debate on where Reed ultimately ends up, I do feel that this is a legitimate BCS quarterback prospect. If for whatever reason things do not work out at the quarterback position, Reed's size, speed, and ability to make people miss in the open field make him a great fit at the wide receiver position.

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