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January 31, 2011When you're the top recruit in a football crazed state like Louisiana, schools from across the country will come calling. They will whip out their best tricks and trades to earn your signature on National Signing Day.
That was the case for receiver Trovon Reed in fall 2009. Reed, who was the starting quarterback at Thibodaux High School at the time, was considered by Rivals to be a four-star athlete and the No. 1 prospect from his state.
Hometown powerhouse LSU was after him, but so was Oregon, Auburn and about 10 other quality DI programs.
Reed felt heavy pressure from the people around him to sign with LSU, but he was mainly interested in the Ducks and Auburn Tigers.
He visited the Plains for the inaugural Big Cat Weekend in May 2009 and later attended the Auburn-West Virginia game that fall. After those two visits, he realized he could only envision himself wearing orange and blue.
Reed made his commitment to Auburn public that November, but people in his hometown wanted him to reconsider. Some were especially disappointed that Reed didn't want to become a Bayou Bengal Tiger instead.
But Reed was determined to join the Auburn Family. He managed to block out their attempts and stay true to his decision until his name was signed at the bottom of an Auburn letter of intent.
After spending his first year of college football on the 2010 national championship team, he hopes those people don't hold anything against him.
"I hope they're happy for me," Reed said. "I was a kid, I had to make my own decisions. I couldn't let them make decisions for me. I hope they're happy for me. If not, oh well. I'm here, I've got a ring and I'm happy."
It was recently announced that former Thibodaux teammate Greg Robinson has decided to become an Auburn Tiger, too.
Considering how close the two are, it may come as a surprise that Reed didn't have much to do with Robinson's decision.
"Honestly, I never once told Greg where to go," Reed said. "He always used to ask me, 'Do you think I should come to Auburn?' I was like, 'Greg, to be real with you, you go where you want to go. I ain't let nobody tell me where to go, so I'm not telling you where to go. You have to do what's in your heart.'"
When Reed's recruitment was heating up in the summer before his senior season, he tragically lost his mother to cancer. In the months following her passing, Reed said he grew up quickly and learned how to take responsibility for himself. That strength helped Reed follow his heart to Auburn.
"You can't let anyone else tell you what's good for you," Reed said. "You have to be a man and make your own decisions."
Reed said he learned a lot about the recruiting process when schools were showing interest in him. Those lessons were passed on to Robinson.
"[I told him] don't be stupid, don't fall for everything the coaches say because some of it could be lies," Reed said. "Just be smart, sit back, every time you talk to a coach just listen to what they say because sometimes you can catch coaches in lies.'"
Reed also advised Robinson on how to break bad news to coaches.
"Don't disrespect none of them because you never know if one of them could be your coach one day," Reed said. "If you don't want to go somewhere, just call them and say, 'I'm sorry, but I have interest in this school.'"
Robinson, who like Reed was being heavily recruited by LSU, chose to commit to Auburn on Dec. 10, 2010.
"I just told him to be smart and make his own decision," Reed said. "I guess his decision was to be with me. So, I love it.
"We're going to go back to high school ball. We're going to look out for each other. He's going to block for me, I'm going to look out for him.
"Even off the field we're going to ride or die for each other. He's like my little brother. We grew up in the same hood so we were always taught to have each others' backs, and we're going to keep doing that."