Even if nobody else knew it, Columbus Marion-Franklin’s Verlon Reed
knew four years ago that he would be an Ohio State Buckeye one day.
Even if nobody else knew it, Columbus Marion-Franklin’s Verlon Reed knew four years ago that he would be an Ohio State Buckeye one day.
That day was today as Reed became the first Columbus City League player in seven years to sign a letter-of-intent for the Buckeyes. (The last City League players to sign with OSU were DB Sirjo Welch of Beechcroft, FB Dionte Johnson of Eastmoor and RB Erik Haw of Independence).
On Wednesday, Marion-Franklin coach Scott Williams told a story that Reed showed up and told as a freshman and told he and coach Brian Haffele that “I’m going to be your next Ohio State Buckeye.”
“I don’t think they knew what I played when I first got there,” Reed said. “I think they thought I was a linebacker. I had to convince them that I was a quarterback. The first day of practice, I went over there and he was impressed.”
Everybody knows about the 6-2, 195-pound Reed today. He is a two-way standout at quarterback and defensive back.
As a senior, Reed led Marion-Franklin to an 11-3 record as the Red Devils made it to the Division II state semifinals. Reed passed for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick as a quarterback in D-II. Reed estimated that he started about half of his team’s games on defense and he played there as needed.
Reed had offers from MAC schools, but Ohio State and other Big Ten schools swooped in at midseason. OSU agreed to allow Reed to rep at quarterback as a freshman, a decision that clinched it for him.
“I have played quarterback my whole life,” Reed said. “That is very important to me. That’s where I want to play. They are giving me an opportunity. I’ve had to make my case a lot. A lot of schools came in and said, ‘You’re a great quarterback, but we don’t need you at quarterback.’ They are going to give me a shot and that’s all I need.
“I’m not a one-dimensional athlete. I can play other positions. If (quarterback) doesn’t work out, I can move somewhere else.”
A reporter suggested that Reed’s story parallels the path that Troy Smith took. He went from being an “athlete prospect” on signing day in 2002 to the Heisman Trophy winner in 2006.
“My favorite quarterback was Troy Smith,” Reed said. “I idolized him a lot. That’s somebody I looked up to a lot. That’s one of the reasons why I liked the Buckeyes.
“That does give me hope. I may be giving young teams in this city hope that they can play at Ohio State. But he gives me hope that I could play quarterback at Ohio State.”