Jaylen Reed is among the top prospects of Penn State's 2021 recruiting class and the player who began the Michigan run.
Reed is a four-star safety from Detroit's Martin Luther King High, the same school that produced Tim Banks, the Penn State assistant who has been instrumental in recruiting Michigan.
Reed announced his commitment to Penn State on April 9, one day before Kalen and Kobe King of Detroit's Cass Technical joined him. Jamari Buddin continued the Michigan run in July.
An SI All-American candidate, Reed is a skilled defensive player with "elite" ball skills, according to his player evaluation. Further, Reed has a "nose for the football that's apparent," a trait valued in Penn State secondaries.
Reed, who is among the top 10 players in Michigan according to 247Sports, committed to Penn State over Georgia, Tennessee and Michigan State, among others.
What are his top traits? Check out Reed's highlight video above and his SI evaluation here.
Frame: Can be considered undersized for a strong safety, especially one that plays in the box this much. Has great length and room to add some mass throughout.
Athleticism: Ball skills are present and on the elite end of the scale. He closes space exceptionally quickly and when he arrives it’s felt and noticed. He unzips quickly in the open field and seems to cover sideline to sideline well enough.
Instincts: Knows one instinct at this point in time, comes downhill and does so in a hurry. He’s a physical football player that will need to learn how to move backward on the next level but he’s got a nose for the football that’s apparent.
Polish: He’s going to have to play safety on the next level considering his size, but he’s played little to no safety up through his junior season of high school as far as we can tell. He’s essentially playing inside linebacker for MLK in Michigan, but he does so exceptionally well. So, you won’t have to clean up the tackling.
Bottom Line: Reed is going to have to learn to play in the pedal unless Penn State plans to use him as an in-the-box strong safety, in which he will excel early on in his career. If he’s allowed to continue to play downhill, he’s going to have early success on the next level with hybrid defender upside.
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