Prattville High School Continues to Provide Dominant Kickers, AJ Reed Commits to Duke
BY: ZACH HARIG
Prattville High School in Prattville, Alabama has had its share of nationally recognized kickers, and this year is no different. In fact, Prattville has been represented for several years, ever since kicker Brian Egan graduated in 2009 and went on to kick in Southeastern Conference (SEC) at Mississippi State. After Egan, For the past several years, Egan’s kicking records at Prattville High School have stood. The records Egan set at Prattville withstood the contest of 2013 Prattville graduate, Austin MacGinnis. MacGinnis, another top kicker coming out of high school and fellow One On One Kicking trainee, was a NCAA All-American as a redshirt-freshman at Kentucky. Even though MacGinnis couldn’t break Egan’s records at Prattville, there’s the potential that AJ Reed could this fall.
“He tells me all of the time that he is going to break my records this fall,” laughed Egan, who now trains Reed at One One One Kicking’s Birmingham, Alabama division. “It’s easy to coach a guy like AJ because he’s very talented, focused, and works very hard. Anything I ask him to do, he does it. He works hard for what he wants, he wants to be the best and he trains like it – that’s AJ Reed.”
The connection that Coach Egan and Reed share through Prattville High School is one that separates their relationship from a lot of other relationships. “Coach Egan is a role model for me, his stats in high school were off the charts and I just hope to have a senior season like he had. I really respect him a lot because he’s helped me so much and he played big-time football in the SEC,” said Reed on his training with Egan.
Aside from training, however, Reed says that him and Egan are also great friends. “I’d definitely consider Egan a close friend of mine, he balances the coach-friend relationship really well. He knows when it’s time to work but then again, we joke around and have fun,” Reed stated.
Reed, a former soccer star before he began to kick in the summer of 2013, says he would still be a soccer player if it wasn’t for Coach Egan and One One One. After being a talented but raw prospect when he arrived to Coach Mike McCabe, Reed’s work ethic and training paid off.
“He definitely had a lot of raw talent and ability when he got to us, he just needed the training for consistency,” said Egan, “His work ethic has begun to pay off and he’s changed dramatically for the better.”
Now, Reed is one of the top kickers in the Class of 2016 and has recently committed to play at Duke University on a full scholarship. After receiving interest from several schools, including a visit to LSU and an offer from South Florida, Reed began to blow-up on the national recruiting scene. However, Duke quickly became the front-runner for Reed after visiting him at spring training.
“Their recruiting coordinator (Zac Roper) visited me and told me I was the top guy on their board,” Reed explained. “They wanted me to visit so head coach, David Cutcliffe, could watch me kick.”
Reed would end up visiting Durham, North Carolina on April 10 and Duke’s interest began to increase. Finally, he took another visit on June 8, where he would have the opportunity to kick in front of the entire Duke coaching staff.
“I had a great day kicking for them,” Reed said about his performance for the Duke staff. The performance obviously opened the eyes of the Duke coaches once again, as evident by the scholarship offer he received afterwards. “I knew I had impressed them but I didn’t know they were going to offer that same day. I told them I would talk to my family and think it over.”
After days of mulling the offer over, Reed decided to pull the trigger and committed to the Blue Devils. “At the end of the day, it was an easy decision, Duke was my number one and I’m glad I made the decision to commit.”
As for what made him commit, Reed says it was a number of things, “The combination between great football and academics can’t be beat,” he stated. “I really enjoyed my time there and the football program is truly headed in the right direction, it felt like home and I knew it was the place for me.”
As for goals now that he has found a home for next season, “I have a camp in July where the Under-Armour All-Americans are chosen so that’s what I’m working for on the short-term. Aside from that, I’m getting ready for my senior season and I’ll be starting as a freshman at Duke so I have some work to do.”
One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe admires the work ethic of Reed and despite training hundreds (or even thousands) of specialists over the years, Reed is one of the best. “AJ worked his butt off to get bigger,” McCabe stated on Reed and his work ethic, “He put in the work and it has made him a whole new kicker. The extra five to seven pounds he gained changed his whole kicking game and he’s probably one of the most consistent field goal kickers I’ve ever seen aside from Brian Egan, Cairo Santos (Kansas City Chiefs) and Nate Freese (NFL Free Agent), that’s obviously a great group to be in.”
Even though Prattville High School has a history of providing dominant kickers, AJ Reed has a chance to be the best. Work ethic can go a long way and if Reed continues working as hard as he has, there’s a chance he could be one of the best to ever be trained through One On One Kicking – which truly says a lot.
Questions? Comments? Contact Zach Harig via email: Zachery.Harig@utoledo.edu or via Twitter: @ToledoZach