April 15, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. - On Nov. 13, 2009, Trovon Reed stood before his classmates, family and friends in Thibodeaux, La., and announced he would play football for Auburn. For Reed, a 5-star prospect, it was an emotional and trying day.
A high school quarterback with dozens of offers, Reed had withstood intense community pressure, most of all from his own high school head coach, and chosen Auburn over LSU. He chose his late mother’s birthday to make the announcement.
“It's hard, but you have to do what you want to do," Reed said that day. "People that are mad at me are just diehard LSU fans. What about the people that come from out of town to come to LSU? That's how I feel about the whole thing.
"My heart was at Auburn.”
Reed had been recruited by some schools as a cornerback and by some as a wide receiver. Auburn, where Gene Chizik was nearing the end of his first season as head coach and Gus Malzahn was the offensive coordinator, wanted him to play wide receiver.
Almost 4 ½ years later, not much has gone the way Reed thought it would go on that November day. His first two seasons were disrupted by injuries. When he was healthy, he struggled to get into the playing rotation, though he made a big catch against Missouri in last season’s Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Chizik is gone. Malzahn is the head coach.
Through it all, Reed was always optimistic. He loved his teammates and they loved him. His value, they’ll tell you still today, could not be measured with numbers on the field.
Finally, after Auburn came within seconds of winning the national championship last January, Reed knew it was time to do something different. With one Auburn season left, Reed moved to cornerback. With two practices left in his final Auburn spring, he has no complaints.
“Time is running out,” Reed said Tuesday. “I have to do something now. I can’t wait anymore. I’ve waited my whole time here. I’ve got no more time to wait. I have to go get it.”
That won’t be easy. Reed hasn’t played cornerback since the Army All-America Game when he was a senior in high school. But he’s out to win a job that could propel him to the NFL.
“Nothing is given to you,” Reed said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be given to me. We are all fighting. Everybody was a 4- or 5-star or they wouldn’t be here. I’m not a quitter. I’m a competitor. I’m just going to keep competing. If they want to put me at kicker, I’ll go to kicker and compete.”
Reed has wasted little time making it clear he plans to make an impact. Cornerbacjks coach Melvin Smith says he is the No. 3 cornerback, behind Melvin Smith and Jonathan Jones. Reed wants more.
Reed won’t leave spring practice as a starter, but he says he’ll work tirelessly throughout the summer to change that.
“I’m going to try to make it where they have no choice,” Reed said. “I respect everybody in the room, but I want it, too.”
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wasn’t sure what to expect from Reed. How fast would he pick up the defense? Would he be able tackle? Would he be physical enough?
After 13 practices, Johnson says all those questions have been answered in the affirmative.
“He’s been very aggressive as a tackler and his coverage technique and all that, so it’s just a matter of getting polished,” Johnson said. “We feel like he’s going to be a huge contributor to us.”
If that happens, a lot of people will stand up and cheer for a player who, even when confronted with disappointment, refused to give in to the hard times.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: