Clemson announced today the hire of Mike Reed, formerly the DB coach under Mike Archer's and Tom O'Brien's direction at NC State. As I said in the Harbison article, he was mentioned as one of the early candidates. Dabo Swinney also interviewed the DB Coaches Sam Shade and Jason Jones from Samford and Oklahoma State respectively. It was mentioned that Sanders from USC was a possible candidate, but we don't know if he was ever interviewed for the job.
While I did not have anyone that I wanted to have the spot on the staff, amongst the candidates mentioned it was Sanders that I would've hired based solely on credentials. I was lukewarm with Sam Shade and against Jones because Oklahoma State's defense, though good at forcing turnovers, has not had a good pass defense in my memory. After looking at Reed's credentials, and having watched State play us, FSU, and Tennessee this year, I'm not at all sold on this hire. This is not a home run.
First, I want to look at his recruiting over the term at NC State. Charlie Harbison has been a great recruiter in the past, though his results over the last couple years at Clemson could be questioned. Recruiting at NCSU is not particularly easy because they're not in a hotbed of talent, but there is still plenty in their 'backyard' from the Tidewater region on down to the Pee Dee. O'Brien is not a great closer at HC either, and I think that is more of a factor in it than anything else. State has one of the more football-oriented fanbases in this shit conference, and they do have revamped facilities. However, Reed's results are frankly pretty poor, even as one of the better recruiters on their staff. His territory was in the Triad and Atlanta. Keep in mind I generally could not give a damn about star rating, but having not watched film on all these players, it is all I have to go on.
Cole Blankenship - 3 star OL, had no offers other than NCSU
Jerod Fernandez - 3 star LB
Kyrin Priester - 3 star WR
Xavier Griffin- 2 star WR
David Grinnage- 2 star TE
Jarnor Jones- 3 star ATH
Kenderius Whitehead- 3 star DE, who is one I would've gone after for Clemson.
Alex Barr - 3 star OL, whose only other offer was Vanderbilt
Tyrrell Burriss - 2 star DB
Carlos Gray - 3 star DT, solid player
Dave Mann- 3 star DE
David Amerson - 4 star DB, Clemson never wanted Amerson by the way
Torian Box - 3 star OL
Dontae Johnson - 3 star DB
Art Norman - 2 star DE
So if this was the best recruiter on TOB's staff, it is no wonder that he got fired. These results are shit, and theres no excuse for NC State or Reed to be pulling only 2-star players. Some NC State followers hold Archer/TOB more responsible for Reed's failings in recruiting, which should be pointed out here.
Reed also prefers larger corners, 6'1/6'2, similar to Harbison. By itself, this is perfectly fine, and I myself think you need bigger corners. You need bigger guys out there on the island when you have to play C1. You don't want a Martin Jenkins matching up against a Megatron. However, I think it is fair to say that Harbison's recruiting philosophies hampered us this year because we have too many CB/S 'tweeners on the roster who don't have the ability to change direction in M2M coverage. Other than possibly Breeland, I'm not sure we have a true cover corner on the roster. We havent gone after some good players for this philosophical reason, and I don't support that side of it.
Reed is originally from Boston College, and was drafted by the Panthers in 1995. He stinted at some small schools and served as a QC assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles in the secondary. He was not the actual DB coach at Philly for most of his term there.
GoPack.com: What intrigued you about returning to college football after spending the last five years coaching in the NFL?
Reed: A lot of people have asked me why I would leave the Philadelphia Eagles to come to college football. For one, it gives me the opportunity to coach the entire secondary. With the Eagles, I was basically the assistant to the assistant. I really didn’t have much of a voice. Coming here has allowed me to be the voice of the secondary. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, because my dream is to be a college head coach one day. And what better way for me to learn than from a guy like Coach O’Brien, who has been so successful for the last decade.
Then I went and looked through some film on NC State this year against us. No one would expect their secondary to be "great" against two NFL WRs we put out there, but they don't show a tremendous amount of talent or technique. Amerson, who Clemson didn't go on in recruiting, is the best one and he had a terrible year. His aggression cost his team a TD against us on a double move route, and Tennessee torched him in game 1. NC State has done a fairly good job on forcing turnovers, moreso last year than this one, but their pass defense is actually worse than Clemson's this season. They gave up more yardage with a similar completion rate allowed. Their statistical trends over the last 4 years have been up & down, but never better than average at anything but turnovers, and mostly just bad.
Again it needs to be pointed out that NC State has some of the most mind-boggling injury losses of any football team over the last few years. O'Brien's S&C guy was let go by the incoming coach, as he should be. This was a big contributor to the pass yardage given up.
So I'm left asking the question, "Why did we hire this one?" We needed a DB coach badly to get the ship righted with some DB recruits Harbison was on in the cycle, but did we need to go for Mike Reed? His results do not show me that he's a quality coach, and that is the bottom line here.