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June 5, 2014

Next in line

If Penn State fans are looking for the next great player to carry on the school's Linebacker U tradition, Troy Reeder is well on his way to becoming that guy.

Not only is he an excellent student, sporting a 4.0 grade point average, Reeder is also a proven leader in the weight room. No one knows that better than his personal trainer, Shawn Hoffman of Titus Sports Academy in Wilmington, Del., Reeder's hometown.

"I actually started working with Troy in 2005, when he was about 10 years old," Hoffman said. "I've been training him ever since, and one thing I can say about Troy is that he's absolutely been the most consistent, hard-working athlete I've ever worked with.

"He trains year-round, during the season, in the off-season. He's always pushing himself, he never takes a day off. If you send a workout to him, you know he's going to not only do every workout, but push it to the max during every rep. Probably 90 percent of the people I work with take a day off or don't do every workout on the plan. Troy's the exact opposite. He's looking for more to do."

That kind of praise speaks volumes when you consider who else Hoffman has trained. The list includes several current NFL linebackers, among them Ernie Sims of Dallas and Paul Worrilow of Atlanta.

However, Reeder's numbers speak for themselves. For example, at the NFL scouting combine in February, Michigan State middle linebacker Max Bullough put up 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Reeder already can do 22 reps. Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson had the best time in the shuttle run: 4.07 seconds. Reeder consistently runs the shuttle in 4.1 to 4.2 seconds. In the vertical leap, Connecticut linebacker Yawin Smallwood jumped 36 inches. Reeder has already hit 35 inches.

"For not even being in his college career yet, he may be the most physically developed kid I've ever worked with," Hoffman said. "He's extremely balanced, very mobile, very flexible. He's obviously got great strength, but he also has great speed and agility to go along with it. He's really good all around.

"He's one special kid. He's got some great tools, but it doesn't matter what kind of tools you have if you don't push yourself. He pushes himself and then some. He's truly one of the most special young men I've ever worked with."

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Reeder doesn't only excel at football; he's also one of the Mid-Atlantic region's top lacrosse prospects. During his freshman year at the Salesianum School in Wilmington, he actually accepted a scholarship to play lacrosse at North Carolina. But after a breakout junior season on the gridiron, it became clear that he could earn a full scholarship playing football.

Reeder then took his game to another level this past season, leading Salesianum to Delaware's Division I championship. He and his teammates posted a 23-7 victory over Middletown, the team to which they had lost in the 2012 state title game.

If the name of the opposing school sounds familiar, it's because one of Reeder's future Penn State teammates - wide receiver Chris Godwin - was their star player.

"We definitely went at it over the past few years," Reeder said. "I know how great of a player Chris is, and I can't wait to have him on my team. … Chris is a great player and great guy. I'm very excited to call him my teammate now."

Now that his high school career is behind him, Reeder is eager to become a part of Penn State's proud linebacker tradition. In fact, according Hoffman, he's been dreaming of this before he even made a commitment to Penn State.

"During his first or second visit up there, he actually sent me a picture of all the linebackers at Penn State and what their best numbers were for all kinds of workouts, stats, that kind of stuff. He sent me a picture that day and said that it's his goal to be at the top of that list in every category by the time he plays in his first game.

"So I told him, 'Let's do it, man,' and ever since, he's taken it up another notch. I just can't stress enough, Penn State is not only getting one heck of a player here, but a great kid, too. Their fans will know that soon enough."



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