Southern Pigskin

Fittingly, Reaves Shines at Senior Bowl

By BJ Bennett
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Competing against other top draft prospects, Jeremy Reaves consistently stood out.

South Alabama’s Jeremy Reaves was a notable playmaker in Saturday’s Senior Bowl, showing off his talents on the same field where he recently completed his all-conference career. Reaves finished with eight total tackles, the most solo stops of any defender, an interception and a pass break-up, helping the South to a convincing victory. In addition to his pick, Reaves’ deflection prevented a tie on an two-point conversion try and one of his tackles forced a turnover on downs. Competing against other top prospects, Reaves consistently stood out.

Reaves wasn’t just at home playing one more game at Ladd-Peeples Stadium, he was at his best on the big stage. Regardless of position, Reaves was one of the most dominant players in the final game of the college football season.

Few in the pre-draft process have a resume quite like Reaves. At 5’11”, 205 pounds, the Pensacola-native was named All-Sun Belt as both a cornerback and a safety during his career. Reaves is an instinctive talent with the athleticism and confidence to make a seamless position switch as he did late in his junior year. There is a functionality to Reaves that just fits the game of football; there is a versatility that makes it easy to slot him into the lineup and difficult to scheme against.

Wherever Reaves has been given an opportunity, he has made the most of it. Reaves compiled 301 total tackles, 22 pass break-ups, 20.5 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles and eight interceptions at South Alabama. Remarkably, he ranks in the top four all-time in Sun Belt Conference history in solo tackles, pass deflections and forced fumbles. Reaves, in terms of his statistical production, is an almost-unprecedented defender. He is the type of player who leaves his mark on more than just the box score.

While at South Alabama, Reaves helped the Jaguars make their first two FBS bowl games, win at SEC foe Mississippi State, defeat nationally-ranked San Diego State and, this past fall, beat Arkansas State and Troy in holding the two league powers to a combined 27 total points. Performances like what he did at Louisiana in 2015 are indicative of all that Reaves can do; that night he recorded nine tackles, two pass deflections, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, intercepting a two-point conversion attempt and blocking an extra point.

In all, Reaves was a three-time All-Sun Belt honoree, earning first-team recognition as a junior and senior. He now holds a number of South Alabama records. Reaves finishes his amateur career as the 2017 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, one of the premier players in conference history and one of the most dynamic defensive backs in recent college football memory. There is a long legacy following Reaves to the NFL, a destination clearly on the horizon.

Reaves impressed at the Senior Bowl, as he was active in practices and all over the place in the game. For a young man that has grown up along the Gulf Coast, his career officially came full circle over the weekend. Next up, for Reaves, is the next level. So far, he has thrived everywhere he has been.

BJ Bennett – B.J. Bennett is’s founder and publisher. He is the co-host of “Three & Out” with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the “Southern Pigskin Radio Network”. Email: [email protected] / Twitter: @BJBennettSports

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