“No, I’m not pushing it around Charlottesville or anything,” he said.
To remain in peak shape leading up to the NFL draft, Reed placed tying bands and a rope around the vehicle for resistance training. He also jumps on the flatbed and performs dips off the tailgate as part of his regular workout regimen.
Interviews with front-office officials and scouts are done mostly via FaceTime, according to Reed, who revealed he has done roughly a dozen, speaking with NFL assistants responsible for coaching wide receivers, running backs and special teams.
It’s all part of the new abnormal for Reed (6-foot-1, 215 pounds), who had the good fortune of attending the NFL combine in February before the pandemic led to the cancellation of professional and college sporting events, scrapping his pro day at Virginia as well.
“I’m just being creative, you know. ... It’s kind of a weird situation,” Reed said during a video conference call with reporters this week. “Just anything I can think of that could benefit me.”
Reed’s place in the NFL, at least initially, may be as a special teams contributor, considering his game-changing return skills in college. He finished as the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in return yards (3,042) and kickoff return touchdowns (five). He’s the only player in major college football history with at least 3,000 yards in returns and an average of at least 28 yards per return.
“I’m kind of in a weird position,” he said. “It really depends what a team wants, what a team sees in me. All my FaceTime interviews have been different. It’s really hard to say right now. It really comes down to what team wants to take a chance, the needs of different teams when draft day comes.”
While Reed led the Cavaliers with 77 receptions this past season, teammate Hasise Dubois, a senior, finished with the most receiving yards (1,062) and led the country in catchable passes without a drop (75). In December, Dubois had 10 receptions in Virginia’s first appearance in the Orange Bowl. He was one of four players in the Football Bowl Subdivision with at least 100 targets, a catch rate of 70 percent and an average of at least 10 yards per target.
“Honestly, the feedback I’ve been getting from scouts, well before the coronavirus and everything, they were just very intrigued and excited to see me in my 40-yard dash,” Dubois said. “And now I was just speaking to a couple of them, and they were saying it’s very unfortunate that happened, but they’re glad I had the senior season that I had.”
Dubois (6-3, 215) has been staying at his home in Irvington, N.J., during the pandemic and training as often as possible with his brother, Ishmael Robbins, who was a sprinter in high school and college.
The workouts are rigorous, Dubois said, and include pushing a car around an empty parking lot in addition to endurance running and sprint work, all designed to improve Dubois’ time in the 40-yard dash, among the question marks for his NFL chances.
Without a pro day, Dubois hasn’t been able to run in person for NFL teams, needing instead to rely on game video and interviews to convince decision-makers he belongs in the league.
“Personally, I believe it was going to be very important because a lot of teams wanted to see what I was going to run in my 40,” Dubois said of the pro day. “They were just worried about the speed part of my game.”