D.J. Reid, one of the Hokies top remaining uncommitted recruiting targets for the class of 2013 committed to Virginia Tech tonight over at least six other BCS conference offers, including his other finalist, South Florida. The running back out of Thomas Dale High School in Chester, Va. was rated a 4-star by 247 Sports, although as an athlete, ranking him No. 21 nationally among athletes and the No. 218 overall player nationally. However, both Rivals and Scout rate Reid a 3-star, Rivals as the No. 45 athlete nationally and Scout the No. 56 running back in the nation. ESPN did not rank or rate Reid.
Reid, long thought to be favoring the Hokies, ended what minor speculation there was about where he would end up. Reid's commitment means several things for the Hokies. Firstly, he's their first natural running back commit of the 2013 class (Drew Harris a 2012 holdover is prepping, and therefore is included in the class). Reid's commitment means the Hokies will have just a precious few scholarships remaining for the 2013 class, and likely ends the possibility the Hokies will be landing the nation's top running back (according to Rivals), Derrick Green out of Richmond's Heratige High School.
For a look at some of Reid's highlights from his 2011 season, we've imbedded a video below and we analyze his tape underneath the video player.
Looking at Reid's highlight tape, several things stand out. First of all, Reid hits the line hard, something that is coveted at the running back position. That's not to say he doesn't have any moves, but he's a little like the typical Mike Shanahan running back: one cut and get upfield. Also apparent from his tape is that Reid is hard to bring down. He breaks a lot of tackles because of something he does that fewer and fewer skill position players do: keep moving their legs at the moment of contact. Darren Evans and Cedric Humes were successful at Virginia Tech because of his ability to keep churning out yards after contact. Reid is not quite the size as either of those backs, but he is above average size for a running back, listed anywhere from 6'0"-6'1" and 195-208 lbs. by the four major recruiting services.
As for his straight-line speed, I found reports that listed him running the 40-yard dash as fast as 4.39, and others tabbing him as low as 4.55. After watching multiple highlight tapes of him, I would tend to think the reality lies somewhere in the middle, maybe near the bottom end of that range. That's not to say he doesn't have any speed, especially in the open field, but he isn't a burner and doesn't really run by that many guys. Reid has good vision to see holes, especially late-developing ones. Reid is also good at keeping plays alive that would otherwise seem dead, a knack among successful running backs that don't possess freakish athletic ability.
One of the most intriguing things about Reid is that he was used in the slot occasionally in high school, and he stated after his commitment that he intended to do the same at Tech. As I said, he's very good in the open field with his ability to break tackles and make cuts against the grain, so this is something to keep an eye on if it should develop. The Hokies had moved former running back Nubian Peak to the slot before he transferred as a redshirt-freshman after he was not slated to start over the deepest receiving corps the Hokies have ever had. I wouldn't say that Reid and Peak are even similar players, as Peak was simply a speedster. But Peak was the last Virginia Tech player I can remember that was slated to be used in that capacity.
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