The One Who Got Away: Greg Reid

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No matter how much work a coach puts into recruiting a player, sometimes things just don’t work out.

Relationships change. Situations change. Feelings get hurt. There can be outside interference, maybe a family member exerting pressure to pick another school.

All those things can lead to a recruit changing his mind and decommitting.

Sometimes the breakups can be messy.

That was the case with Florida, coach Urban Meyer and five-star recruit Greg Reid in 2009. When other schools turned up the heat, Reid changed his mind about attending Florida and became one of the biggest decommitments in program history.

Reid, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback whom ESPN ranked the No. 1 player in Georgia and No. 15 in the ESPN 150, had given Meyer a verbal commitment before his senior season at Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes High School. Meyer had been recruiting Reid for two years, and Reid was going to be the cornerstone of the Gators’ 2009 class.

But things changed after Reid put together a phenomenal senior season. He intercepted nine passes and recovered a fumble on defense, and he rushed for 1,242 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught eight passes for 234 yards and two more touchdowns. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Reid the state’s player of the year, and Georgia High School Football Daily named Reid the Class AAAAA Player of the Decade.

Reid also had dominating performances in the Georgia North-South all-star classic and the Under Armour All-American game. He scored the North-South game’s only two touchdowns, on punt returns, and was named the MVP of the Under Armour game after intercepting two passes.

Coaches flocked to Valdosta in droves and tried to lure Reid away from Florida, which was busy preparing to face Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. And when Reid visited Florida the weekend of Jan. 17-18, 2009, he didn’t get a good feeling.

"I felt like I was at home at Florida State on my visit, it was totally different from the feeling I got at Florida," Reid told the Journal-Constitution.

When Reid told Meyer he was decommitting, things apparently got a bit testy. Reid told the AJC that Meyer was upset and spoke in a “powerful” tone and asked Reid where those other schools were when Meyer was recruiting Reid as a sophomore and junior.

Reid eventually chose Florida State, costing the Gators one of the nation’s top punt returners -- but saving them a bit of a headache, too.

Reid played in 13 games as a freshman. He led the nation in punt-return average (18.4 yards per return) and was a consensus freshman All-American as a specialist. Reid started all 14 games in 2010 and was an honorable mention All-ACC selection.

Reid started nine games in 2011 and moved into second place in school history with 89 career returns and 1,117 career return yards.

But Reid also had several off-the-field issues. He was suspended for a violation of team rules, arrested on a perjury charge that eventually was dropped, and arrested in July 2012 and charged with driving with a suspended license, a seat belt violation and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher dismissed Reid from the team at the beginning of August.

Reid transferred to Valdosta (Ga.) State but suffered a torn ACL in the Blazers’ final preseason scrimmage and missed the 2012 season.