NEW ORLEANS — Add J.R. Reed into the growing column of “undecided” among Georgia’s juniors considering an early jump for the NFL.
Unavailable until Saturday, when he met with reporters during the Sugar Bowl defensive players’ press conference, Reed gave the same kind of answer that flanker Mecole Hardman and tight end Isaac Nauta did the day before.
“I have not,” Reed, a junior safety, said Saturday of whether he’d made a decision on his future. “I’ll think about that after the game.”
Juniors have until Jan. 14 to declare themselves eligible for the draft. Reed is one of several Bulldogs who submitted paperwork to the NFL for a pre-draft evaluation. Running back Elijah Holyfield and receiver Riley Ridley are also thought to have asked for evaluations.
Reed is actually a fourth-year junior after an early redshirt at Tulsa before transferring to Georgia. Since arriving at UGA in 2016, Reed has been a two-year starter at strong safety and defensive captain. He’s third on the team with 58 tackles and had two interceptions and two pass-breakups this season. He had 79 stops last season.
Asked what would be the determing factor for him, Reed said: “Just whatever’s going to be best for me and my family going forward.”
Reed has a pretty good adviser back home in Frisco, Texas. Reed’s father, Jake Reed, played 12 seasons in the NFL as a receiver for Minnesota and New Orleans.
It’s worth pointing out that the senior Reed played all four seasons at Grambling State before becoming a third-round draft pick.
Reed currently ranks 29th among the 2019 draft-eligible safeties, according to WalterCamp.com. But the accuracy of such ratings is very unreliable. And Reed recently graduated from UGA, so he could decide to give the pros a shot regardless of draft position.
In the meantime, Reed contends that he is fully focused on Tuesday’s game against Texas and getting Georgia’s otherwise young defensive backfield prepared for the future.
“Next season starts now,” Reed said. “So I’m trying to help get those young guys ready.”