Jordan Reed came to the Florida Gators in 2009 out of New London, CT. He was recruited as a quarterback and was considered one of the better dual-threat QBs in the nation. There weren’t many out there that expected him to stay at the position, but he would…at first.
Reed redshirted in 2009–his first season on campus. In 2010–as the Gators would look nearly everywhere for a serviceable quarterback–he got the chance to play his high school position at the college level. Reed was efficient, but not overly so. Still, he put together a passer efficiency rating of just under 120 and had some memorable moments. Against Vanderbilt that season, Reed went 11-for-19 through the air for 130 yards and ran for another 84. He would pass for one touchdown and score another on the ground. There were flashes, but nothing spectacular. Ultimately, it was fairly obvious he would have more success at another position–tight end.
Having played some tight end in 2010, Reed went to the position full-time for the 2011 season. There were some growing pains as a TE, but Reed turned himself into a solid player with great promise as a pass catcher and a big target. Reed was putting together a good 2012 despite Florida struggling to find it’s way as a passing team. There were already whispers of where he might go in the NFL Draft in a year or two. On Saturday–while down 17-9 to the Georgia Bulldogs–the Gators went to their reliable (and now possibly even “star” tight end). As Reed sprinted toward the end-zone looking to get the Gators closer to a possible eighth victory, he fumbled. The air was let out of every orange and blue balloon at the same exact moment.
It could have happened to anyone, but it didn’t. It happened to Jordan Reed. It happened to a hard worker that switched positions and became one of the most reliable and productive players on the Florida roster. It happened to the player Jeff Driskel was looking for when the Gators were nearing the end-zone.
It’s not Reed’s fault the Gators lost. He obviously took it hard–anyone would–but the Gators turned over the ball five other times. Florida gave Georgia the ball in great position to score and while the defense held as tight as they could for most of the night, they couldn’t do it on every play. Reed plays one position and will be remember for one unfortunate play. He was chased from behind by one of college football’s best players–Jarvis Jones–and fumbled the ball into the end-zone where the Bulldogs recovered. There’s no blame to be put on Jordan Reed. Far from it. He should hold his head high, as hard as it will be to do that. Much more than that contributed to Florida’s loss. This has been a particularly odd season as it is and a six turnover game almost seems par for the course. Reed didn’t fumble that game away, something else entirely did.