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John Reid Is Back, Better Than Ever As Spring Practices Continue

Penn State football cornerback John Reid returned to full-time action at spring practice for the first time since he suffered a devastating knee injury at this time last year.

Reid did not play at all during the 2017 season, and his presence was certainly missed on the defensive side of the ball. He’s back in practice now, however, and will anchor the Nittany Lions’ deep group of cornerbacks throughout the 2018 season.

Head coach James Franklin’s message during his weekly media availability was short and simple: John Reid is ready to get back to game action.

“If we were playing Saturday, he’d play,” Franklin said. “He’s played enough football for us. We kind of know where he is, and we’re kind of taking our time easing him back in both physically and mentally. But if we were playing this Saturday, he’d play.”

John Reid tallied 64 tackles, including six tackles-for-loss, during his first two seasons in Happy Valley.

Reid discussed the process of recovering from his injury and said he feels stronger and more comfortable than ever as spring practice kicks into full gear.

“The process is long,” he said Wednesday. “Sometimes you’re working really hard, and you expect [progress] to come the next week, and the progress comes suddenly when you wake up one morning. It’s a weird process, but it’s gone well. I feel strong and super comfortable.”

The Mount Laurel, NJ, native was a bit rusty at the start of spring practice, but he said that’s typical of most players at this time of year. His injury limited the amount of reps he received at the start of training, but his reps have increased as practice has progressed.

Reid’s ball skills are one of the most important aspects of his game. He’s intercepted three passes and defended ten others in his college career.

One aspect of Reid’s game that sets him apart from other cornerbacks is his ability to return punts. He returned 22 punts for a total of 166 yards in his sophomore season and he’s jumped right back into the role this spring. Those numbers may not stand out, but Reid said fielding kicks now comes naturally to him after he worked hard to catch punts as a sophomore.

“It’s going well,” Reid said. “I was surprised because I had to work so hard at catching punts [as a sophomore]. It wasn’t something that was natural for me, but when I came out here to start spring ball and started catching it, it came back easy. I was surprised — I was doing all the techniques right without thinking about it.”

Reid praised the team’s depth at the punt returning position, explaining several of his teammates can make plays and are threats in the punt return game.

Head coach James Franklin called Reid a “football junkie,” saying that he’s watched approximately 100 more hours of film than any other player on the team.

Most players who suffer from season-ending injuries struggle to maintain a positive attitude throughout their recovery time, but Reid was all smiles as he discussed his injury and recovery. Now that he’s back to 100 percent, the starting corner has plenty of reasons to smile.

“I’m coming back feeling better than I’ve ever been,” Reid said. “I’m doing more exercises I’ve never done, just the strength part and everything like that. I just feel better overall as an athlete. I can still play football, and I feel like I can play it at a way better level than I did before.”

Reid will make his long-awaited return to Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 21 for the annual Blue-White spring football game.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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