Nick Reed was an animal on defense. He didn’t necessarily fit what would be expected from a defensive end though, even by today’s standards for Oregon defensive linemen. Being shorter than 6’2" and less than 250 pounds he looked more like a linebacker than a lineman. What his measurables don’t show that his statistics reveal is his tenacity and will power.
Having been a younger fan when Nick Reed first started making plays in the backfield I kind of considered Nick Reed to be the definition of Oregon football embodied up until that point in time. The same ways that Oregon didn’t have the best recruits or tradition when compared to the giant programs like USC, Nick Reed didn’t have the same athleticism or size when compared to the left tackles he went up against. What brought Nick Reed up to the level of play to beat his opponent, and what I associated with Oregon football, was his desire to win and his high motor, never give up attitude.
Nick Reed was chaos when he broke into the backfield. When he used his speed and quickness off the edge to get a step or squeeze through a gap there’s a momentary rush that fans felt, one that is normally reserved only for when running backs reach the second level of the defense or a receiver has a large amount of turf in front of him with only one defender in the way.
Reed was a 1st-Team All-American defensive end according to the Walter Camp Foundation and an Academic All-America. He won the Morris Trophy for being the best defensive lineman in the PAC-10, was a semi-finalist for the Lott Trophy and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks award. Reed still holds the school-record for career sacks with 29.5 on record.
In the 2009 NFL Draft the Seattle Seahawks picked up the fan favorite. Reed scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery against the Jacksonville Jaguars and recorded a sack the same game.
He would later make the Bear’s 53-man roster late in the 2010-2011 season before being released again. Reed would go on to get tryouts with the Buccaneers and the Vikings.
After being released by the Vikings Nick Reed went on to begin training to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force.