Name: Ryan Reid
NFL games played: 0
Games played for the Chargers: 0
Fun fact: The Chargers weren't the first team to make contact with Reid after the draft - he had an unsuccessful minicamp tryout with the Minnesota Vikings.
Ryan Reid was - just like nearly everyone in the NFL - a star in High School. He was ranked the #25 CB in the nation by 247Sports, but when you have a player that talented, you get the most out of them - which explains why Reid also played WR, Wildcat QB, K, and KR/PR for his High School, Sherman High in Texas.
Judging from reviews by Baylor fans, Reid was a liability in his first few seasons, but massively improved as time went on, culminating in a superb 2016 season where he snagged three interceptions and 8 pass breakups, making him a Second Team All-Big 12 pick by ESPN in 2016, as well as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention from the coaches.
Personally, I always prefer players that are trending upwards, rather than players who started off strongly but had a disappointing senior season. Whatever changed for Reid in 2016, it worked and got him noticed enough to at least be given the chance to crack an NFL roster.
I could tell you more about him, but that's not what this series is about. Besides, I'd just be repeating the information that Matthew Stanley gave in his article on Ryan Reid, which you should definitely read. Get it? Reid/Read? Sigh.
Reid was raised by a single parent, with his mother Tracy Bryant working as a nurses assistant to raise Reid and his older brother, Duane. He grew up in Oak Cliff, Dallas - Urban Dictionary (that very reliable source) describes Oak Cliff as being "famous for its regular local news coverage due to violent crimes and acts of poverty, but this is a huge misrepresentation. While there are parts of Oak Cliff where looking at the wrong person in the wrong way will get you beat up, stabbed, or shot, overall it's an okay place to live."
Regardless of what you want to make of that, Oak Cliff wasn't a great place to be raising two teenage boys. Tracy Bryant had to put her foot down - and oh boy, did she put her foot down. In this superb article by the Waco Tribune, Bryant says this: “I’ll put it to you this way, he might have had to slept in a car because he was going through a rebellious stage,” Bryant said. “There was no bending the rules in my house. If you didn’t abide by them, you couldn’t stay there.”
That'd be enough to keep anybody in line, but the most powerful way Bryant may have kept Reid focused may have been unintentionally scarring. More than once, Reid walked in on his mother crying over how tough things were. I can't even imagine how painful it must have been for Reid to see his mother in tears, but being utterly helpless to change anything. All Reid could possibly do was to play by his mother's rules and work as hard in school as she asked, to alleviate some of the strain on her.
So he did.
The family moved back to Sherman - Bryant's hometown - for Reid's junior year, a safer environment where his Head Coach instantly recognized how well Bryant had done raising Reid: “You never know how a transfer will fit in, but he was a natural fit and a great kid,” [Head Coach Gary] Kinne said. “He’s got a great personality, and you can tell he has a great mom by the way he was raised and the way he acts. He was a leader who got along with everybody.”
With Reid starring on the football field and his mother not letting his schoolwork slip an inch, it became clear that Reid was going to end up in college, and he graduated with a degree in Communications in May 2016.
I don't know if Reid has a future in football. I'd like to think so, but the statistics don't look great for the chances of UDFA's sticking around in the league - especially ones who didn't immediately get a contract offer from a team. Regardless of whether he does or doesn't, Reid has done himself - and his mother - proud.
Reid is the perfect example of someone who used athletics to their advantage, and not just on the sports field. Reid's athletic ability gave him a chance to go to college, but he wasn't just there to be an athlete. He furthered himself as a man, got himself a degree, and set himself up with the best possible shot in life, no matter what's around the corner. Hell, I'm proud of him, and I didn't know he existed a week ago.
Well done, Ryan. I'm rooting for you. Good luck.