It didn’t matter where, Jordan Reed knew the coach he wanted to play for.
Reed, a quarterback out of El Centro, California, pointed to Wyoming showing interest in him as the moment when his recruiting took off. The coronavirus pandemic, though, hampered that.
With no chance to play during the fall of his senior year, Reed had less opportunities to prove himself. That, he believed, made college programs less inclined to want to sign him.
“To them,” he said, “I was just another kid.”
But Montana State head coach Brent Vigen, who talked to Reed when he was Wyoming’s offensive coordinator, was still interested. That, along with Vigen’s track record with quarterbacks, comforted Reed and made his decision easier.
Reed committed to Montana State on June 10. He graduated from Central Union High School this spring with plans to join MSU in January and grayshirt.
“I’m thrilled,” Reed said. “Just to be able to play for these guys is something special. The guys that have come through their program, it’s exciting for me, knowing I’m in good hands. They’re going to take care of me. I know it’s a great program for the sports aspect, but the life aspect, I know I’ll become a better man.”
California was among the last states in the country to allow high school football because of the pandemic. In a shortened season that began in March, Reed recorded 1,015 yards, 16 touchdowns and one interception, adding three rushing touchdowns, in five games as a senior.
In 2019, Reed completed 56% of his passes for 2,001 yards and 27 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions.
While his senior season was being delayed, Reed worked with coaches and traveled if needed. He sent videos of himself working out to colleges to prove he still had a strong desire to play beyond high school.
Reed didn’t pinpoint one area of the game he needed to improve specifically before college. He doesn’t want one area of his game to suffer by focusing on another.
“There’s nothing you can’t work on,” Reed said. “For me as a player, I want to be able to work on everything and make sure everything is the same level of talent. I want my vision, my arm strength, my footwork, my knowledge, I want it all to be the same.”
Reed, at 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, has the arm strength to give the Bobcats a potent vertical passing game. In his high school career, he displayed capable field vision and patience as he waited for receivers to gain separation. He also could scramble and buy time in the pocket when needed.
Vigen coached the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen at Wyoming and the Indianapolis Colts’ Carson Wentz at North Dakota State. He’s proven he can develop QBs with size, strong arms and athleticism. That, Reed said, was a “big boost” in his decision making.
MSU’s quarterbacks on its roster include juniors Matthew McKay and Tucker Rovig, sophomore Casey Bauman, and freshmen Tommy Mellott and Sean Austin.
“Knowing that coaching staff and knowing who those people were, I thought, ‘That’s where I need to be,’” Reed said. “That’s where I felt like I fit at home.
“I knew (Vigen) has the tools, the attitude, the smarts of a coach to be able to make me better and possibly go to the next level, and when he told me, ‘We want you,’ I believed in myself this is where I needed to be and he was going to guide me for four years and hopefully get me to the next level.”
Now Reed will have to display patience off the field. He said grayshirting is “really just trusting the process.” He noted Vigen told Reed he would be sacrificing just a few months for an extra year of eligibility.
Reed will hope to adjust to college during the spring semester. This decision will also give him extra time to compete for a starting role later in his career.
“That’s totally worth it in my book,” Reed said.