Ed Reed was the Miami Hurricanes heart and soul during the 2000 and 2001 football seasons. Reed was the leader on the consensus greatest team of all-time in 2001. When discussing the greatest players in college football over the last 25 years Reed should be discussed.
Safety Ed Reed was the leader of the Miami Hurricanes team that finished second in the country in 2000 and won the 2001 National Championship. With any consideration of the best player in college football, Reed should be mentioned, especially when narrowing the field to only defense.
Few players were the leaders of a team that accomplished more than Miami did during the final two seasons Ed Reed played with the Hurricanes. A 34-29 loss at Washington in September 2000 prevented Miami from playing in three straight BCS Championship games. The 2000 Miami Hurricanes finished the season 11-1.
Miami ended the 2000 season with about as good of a consolation prize as could have been expected after missing out on a chance to play for a National Championship in the Orange Bowl game at Hard Rock Stadium. A 37-20 victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl capped a season as the nation’s runner-up.
The 2000 Miami football team missed out by 0.32 points in the computer to Florida State who they defeated earlier that season for the right to play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Led by Reed the 2001 Miami Hurricanes entered the 2001 season with a mission. In 2001 Miami became the most dominant team in college football history.
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Reed was a consensus first-team All-American during his final two seasons in college, the 2001 Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year and somehow lost out on the Thorpe Award honoring the best defensive back in the nation to Roy Williams of Oklahoma in 2001. Reed still holds the Miami career interception record with 21.
An article in The Athletic which was conducted by several college football writers including Miami alum Bruce Feldman didn’t even mention Reed as one of the greatest players over the past 25 seasons. At the very least, Reed should have been mentioned among the greatest defensive players over the past 25 seasons.
Former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh led Nebraska in tackles when he was in college which is exceptional for any defensive lineman. The one player who could be considered more dominant than Reed in the secondary was Charles Woodson of Michigan who had the hardware to back that debate up.
Feldman listed the achievements Woodson accomplished during Michigan’s 1997 National Champion season when he won“(The) Heisman (Trophy), Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award.” A year before the BCS Michigan shared the National Championship with Nebraska.
Woodson also played offense, but in just looking at the defensive side of the football, Woodson had 16 career interceptions. That was five less than Reed recorded. Miami came within less than a point of getting to play in the National Championship game in its hometown on its future homefield.
Reed was a leader and made big plays with the game on the line. His legendary strip of teammate Matt Walters following an interception by the defensive lineman and subsequent 80-yard return for a touchdown preserved a Hurricanes victory in the final minute at Boston College.
Reed should unquestionably be in the conversation for the best player in college football and certainly the best defensive player over the last 25 years. He is a member of the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame. Reed showed his dedication and leadership to the Miami when he was recently hired as Chief of Staff.