J.R. Reed Continues to be Glue That Holds Together Georgia Defense

Brooks Austin

J.R. Reed and the Reed family are no strangers to high caliber football. Reed's father, Jake was a 12-year NFL wide receiver, and his uncle Dale Carter played a dozen years himself at defensive back for five teams. 

As early as age three J.R. was in the Minnesota Vikings film room watching cut-ups with his old man. Today, he is the glue that holds the Georgia defense together. Though, the road for Reed didn't exactly start in Athens. 

J.R. Reed only had five division one offers coming out of Prestonwood Christian in Plano, Texas. And in the last game of his senior season, Reed tore his ACL. 

Following surgery, Reed was verbally committed to SMU on a gray shirt scholarship, but after a coaching change for the Mustangs, things fell apart. In January of 2015, Reed enrolled at Tulsa. 

After playing in all 13 contests as a true freshman at Tulsa, Reed decided that he had bigger aspirations in the game of football. He elected to ask for his transfer papers and see if the grass was indeed greener on the other side. 

Insert another extremely talented family member, DeAngelo Gibbs. Gibbs was the fourth-ranked safety in 2017 class and was quite a big target for the Dawgs. During J.R.'s redshirt season in Athens, he spent time recruiting his cousin to come to join him in Georgia's defensive backfield. 

All the extra recruiting finally paid off as Gibbs wound up committing to Georgia in January of 2017. Gibbs is now a member of the Volunteers following a transfer this spring. He played just 5 games in two seasons as a Bulldog. 

As for Reed, he's done nothing but shine in a Bulldogs uniform. Since returning to the field after his redshirt season in 2016, all he's done is start all 29 games. He and Andrew Thomas are the only Georgia players with such a streak. 


Reed's 79.0 tackles were good enough for second on the team behind only Roquan Smith. Started all 15 games and tallied 5.0 TFLs on the season. He was voted 2nd team All-SEC in his first season as a Dawg. At the annual postseason awards, he was rightfully named defensive newcomer of the year. 


For the second consecutive season, Reed finished second on the team with 66.0 tackles behind only Richard LeCounte. Reed was Georgia's leading tackler in four football games in 2018, including against Alabama where he had 8 tackles and a redzone interception. He was selected as a captain in four contests. 

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DB, J.R. Reed


In what's proving to be his best season yet, Reed has played a pivotal leadership role on an otherwise young football defense. With injuries to Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes at points throughout the season, Reed has had to play coach just as much as safety. Often times, you'll see him correct his teammates' alignment and even clarify their assignment. 

People always tell you to bet on yourself. To chase your dreams and believe in your abilities, and that all sounds sweet. It takes real fortitude to uproot yourself from a division one program where you've received significant playing time as a true freshman. Even if it is Tulsa. 

Needless to say, the gamble has paid off for J.R. Reed, as he and Richard LeCounte have continued to be one of the best safety tandems in all of college football. 

Kirby Smart said of Reed, "I didn't know exactly what we were getting, but he has turned out to be probably the best decision we've made from standpoint of transfers."

Even if Georgia was introduced to J.R. Reed through his younger cousin, Gibbs. I think it's ok to give Kirby the credit for identifying Reed's talents very early upon his arrival in Athens. As did the rest of us.