ATLANTA, Ga. — J.R. Reed represented himself well at SEC Media Days in Atlanta this year.
The Krewe shades. The “007” references. A look that “pops” in front of the cameras. But he also said something on Tuesday during his sessions with the media that could prove more memorable than the aqua and blue shades of his bow tie.
When Kirby Smart was asked about DeAngelo Gibbs and Natrez Patrick, the head coach confirmed that they were working hard and on the team and left it at that. The head coach made it clear there is a lot more good work necessary before either one of them begins to author a bounceback storyline like other Bulldogs have over the years.
Gibbs wasn’t with the team late last season for what Reed told reporters at that time was a “medical” issue. He withdrew from UGA during the spring semester but has re-enrolled this summer.
When Reed was asked about Gibbs, he offered the hope one might expect from family. Gibbs and Reed are cousins. They grew up playing in their grandmother’s backyard with their other cousin Nigel Warrior of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Those two come from a close-knit family. They should have one another’s back, but Reed can see his cousin coming back. All the way back.
“I hope he can win his position,” Reed said. “I hope he can win the position battle that he has. Really I hope he can just work hard and win that position. He’ll have to study the playbook just like everybody else and may the best man win. If he can win it, then he will it. If he’s the best guy for us, then he’s the best guy.”
What J.R. Reed hopes to see out of DeAngelo Gibbs
The junior leader can see Gibbs still fulfilling his potential as one of the big early signees of the Kirby Smart era. The former Grayson star was the nation’s No. 4 safety and No. 49 overall recruit on the 247Sports composite rankings back in 2017.
Reed says he’s seen Gibbs mature along his time at Georgia.
“He’s done a great job in maturing from his freshman year to now,” Reed said. “He’s really honing in and seeing he can really help this team out and really play.”
While Gibbs missed all of spring practice, there will be ample opportunity in the secondary. The Bulldogs saw three defensive backs who started in the playoffs exhaust their eligibility after the national championship game.
Gibbs, who received his first college offer when he was 13 years old, saw time in six games last fall.
“It is not really that hard for him to come back after missing all of spring,” Reed said. “When you play football for such a long time it is like riding a bike. All you really need is like a week or a couple of weeks.”
Gibbs and Reed have also been seen hanging out with former Bulldog Roquan Smith on social media at times this summer. Reed and Smith used to be roommates in Athens.
When Gibbs signed back in 2017, there were only five Bulldogs that rated higher than him in that class. Richard LeCounte III and Isaiah Wilson will get their turns this fall to help the team the way Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift and Andrew Thomas did in 2017.