Justin Reid ready to blaze his own trail at Stanford
Justin Reid doesn't have to worry about carrying on his father and brother's legacy at LSU. He'll be starting his own legacy 2,000 miles away.
On National Signing Day, Reid brought a backpack with three baseball caps inside--one for LSU, one for Notre Dame and another for Stanford.
After being placed on the table side by side and with the anticipation building, Reid grabbed the cap for Stanford. When he signed his letters of intent, it was official.
He's off to California to blaze his own trail. Though he takes great pride in what his father and brother built in Baton Rouge, he feels it's time to escape the huge shadows they've left on the program.
"I'm excited. I'm going to make a name for myself," Reid said. "I love my brother to death, but I'm not going to be Eric Reid's little brother forever. Eventually, Eric Reid is going to be Justin Reid's older brother. That's the point I'm trying to reach."
Before there was Justin Reid, there was his father Eric Reid Sr. He was a three-time All-American track star at LSU during the '80s.
During his time in Baton Rouge, he was a NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles. He set the school record for the event with a time of 13.50 seconds.
And then there was Justin's brother, Eric, Jr. Like Justin, it came down to LSU and Stanford, but he chose to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Tiger.
He instantly build a reputation as one of the best safeties in the country as he became a two-time All-American.
In 2013, he was selected 18th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Draft, and he quickly lived up to the high selection. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Because of the great tradition his father and brother created at LSU, it was hard for Justin to pass, but he felt it was the best decision for him.
"It really came down to Stanford and LSU because I have family in both places. Notre Dame was one of my favorite visits, but I just didn't have any family there, and it just didn't feel right not having anyone around," Reid said. "So, it was down to LSU and Stanford.
"LSU was the childhood dream but getting a degree from Stanford, playing football there and having my brother literally 15 minutes away and being able to have that kind of role model and leadership and have him advise me--something very few people have--that was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."
For a guy like Justin that is just as good of a student as he is a player, the academic prestige of Stanford was also something too special to ignore. He made a 30 on his ACT and in addition to schools like Stanford and Notre Dame, Ivy League institutions like Brown and Yale were interested in him as well.
"It's definitely a blessing because not many athletes in general have the opportunity to go on and play football in college--let alone a top-tier university like Stanford," Reid said. "For me to have scholarship offers from places like Notre Dame, LSU, Oklahoma and Stanford University, that's just a blessing that only God can give, and I'm so thankful for it."
The scholarship offers have been coming in non-stop ever since last year's National Signing Day; that's when TCU made him an offer. Ever since then, the offers have come in bunches.
"It's a rollercoaster. There are ups and downs," Reid said. "There are days where you feel like you're on top of the world--like right now, and then you have days where you feel stressed out; you can't sleep.
"The last two weeks, I couldn't sleep because I was so stressed about this decision. I actually made up my mind last night at about one in the morning. That's how drawn-out this decision process has been. It's definitely a ride, and I really enjoyed it."
And now that it's all over, Reid can focus on the new challenge that awaits. He's excited to make the long journey to Palo Alto and begin the next phase of his football career with the Cardinal.
"I'm going to bring it all--SEC-type hitting, athleticism, intellect, leadership and the ability to help line people up on the ball," Reid said. "I definitely love to hit. I feel that's one of my strong suits, and I just want to be an overall great player and make an impact."