COLUMBUS, Ohio - Verlon Reed thought he had finally arrived.
A former high school quarterback, Reed had successfully made the transition to the wide receiver position that he was expected to play when he committed to spend his college football career at Ohio State. And not only had Reed transformed himself into a wideout, but through a series of suspensions and injuries he found himself starting at receiver for the Buckeyes in their 2011 season opener against Akron.
Reed responded, catching three balls for a total of 66 yards, and added to his season totals in the next five games as he amassed nine catches for 132 yards, while also proving to be a capable runner on end around plays.
His success, however, wasn't sustainable, and Reed's dreams of having a breakout season in 2011 came to a crashing halt when he tore his ACL and other ligaments in his right knee in Ohio State's 10-7 loss to Michigan State in the Buckeyes' fifth game of the season.
Almost a year after he unexpectedly found himself in the Ohio State starting lineup, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver claims to be fully recovered and ready to reclaim the spot that he vacated last October.
But regardless of whether he finds himself on the field or not when the Buckeyes take on Miami (OH) on Sept. 1, Reed is just thankful to have the opportunity to play considering where he was less than a year ago.
"It was definitely a tough deal, I had to make a lot of adjustments. Your world changes after an injury like that with your knee," Reed said. "There's a good possibility you'll never play again."
Fortunately for Reed, that wasn't the case. The Columbus, Ohio native credits his speedy recovery- he said he's been practicing at full-contact since the spring- to the work of the Ohio State training staff.
"We have the right resources here and the right people here to make sure that everything goes how it's supposed to go," Reed said. "I'm real glad to be here. Everyone was behind me, supporting me. You know you have the right people here so you can get through it."
With his knee injury a thing of the past, Reed entered his third fall camp at Ohio State listed as the backup to sophomore Evan Spencer at one of the Buckeyes' three wide receiver spots. But even being injury-free, Reed had to fist overcome another hurdle before he could get out onto the field.
Reed was nowhere to be found on the Buckeyes' first full day of fall camp, and on the second day he found himself running through drills with a yellow jersey top on top of his traditional scarlet one. The redshirt sophomore, however, offered an explanation for his absence and new jersey wardrobe.
"That was because I had missed a practice because I was getting my academics situation cleared up. I had this class I had to pass, so I've been studying for my finals," Reed said. "I was just a day behind, but now I'm all caught up, so I'm feeling good with everything."
With his grades and order and knee at full-strength, Reed can now focus his full attention on becoming the go-to receiver that first-year Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has been coveting. The Marion Franklin high school product said that while he would love to be the 'wow' player that Meyer has been looking for, he doesn't see any reason why there should be just one of those in Meyer's spread offense.
"Not only myself, but we have other guys as well. We have a lot of firepower, we just have to find a way to start clicking. That's what we've been pushing for, to find that guy to make plays constantly and be more consistent for us," Reed said. "We're all the lookout and hopefully I can be one of those guys."