Saturday, June 19, 2010


HERSHEY, Pa. — Ohio won its second straight Big 33 Football Classic on Saturday night in Hershey (Pa.), defeating the Pennsylvania squad, 18-15, led by a dynamic pair of future Buckeyes.

(left, photo of Verlon Reed)

Verlon Reed, an Ohio State signee from Marion-Franklin in Columbus, dazzled the crowd on hand at Hershey Park Stadium by showcasing a wide range of skills, which saw him playing at both quarterback and wide receiver, as well as in the defensive backfield.

Reed accounted for 115 total yards in the win, including a show-stopping 74-yard touchdown run on a QB keeper in the third quarter, which seemed to get the Ohio offense motoring after looking so very dismal early on.

The humble Reed didn't take much credit, though, for the incredible scamper, lumping all of the praise on his Ohio teammates.

"That was my teammates helping out there," Reed said of the TD scamper. "I tried not to think about it because then you start thinking and you can make a mistake or do something out of character. I just wanted to finish the run."

Reed was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

But, of course, he wasn't the only future Buckeye who shined Saturday night.

Cleveland Glenville's Christian Bryant, much like Reed, was all over the field Saturday night, playing wide receiver, cornerback and kick returner for the Ohioans. Defensively, Bryant was as advertised, shutting down the Pennsylvania receivers all game long with his physical, ultra-athletic play. But where the former Tarblooder made his imprint on the game was on the other side of the football — and during the game's most critical point.

With 1:04 remaining in the contest, and Ohio trailing by five, Bryant received a pass out in the right flats and put on the burners, racing 17 yards to paydirt for the game-winning score.

Bryant showed Ohio State coaches that not only can he be a shutdown corner on defense, but he can be that dynamic playmaker on out on the edges that the Buckeyes have been searching for since Ted Ginn Jr. left in 2006. Bryant hauled in six receptions in the win for 50 yards.

As great as Bryant was, the night was all about Reed. Of course, you would never know it hearing him talk about it.

"I thought Christian Bryant actually won the MVP," Reed said humbly.

Sorry Verlon, but this was your coming out party of sorts. Sure, he was also the MVP of the Ohio North-South Classic in April, but this game was nationally televised.

Believe it or not, the Marion-Franklin product was relatively unknown on the 2010 national recruiting scene.

But no matter what his national status was, or is now, it was quite apparent on Saturday night that Reed has that "it" factor.

According to OSU safties coach Paul Haynes, the Buckeyes are tabbing Reed as an "athlete."

"Verlon Reed is someone we're really excited about," Haynes said on signing day in February. "He's a local kid from Marion-Franklin. We consider Verlon as an 'athlete.' Verlon can do a lot of different things, as he did for Marion-Franklin.

"He played quarterback for them, played some receiver and also played DB for them. We kind of feel that Verlon can fit any of those spots for us. So we're going to move Verlon around and see where he fits. Wherever he fits is where we're going to keep him.

"We expect a lot of things out of Verlon."

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