Jenkins Defensive End Tanner Reeves Has Found His Position
Tue. September 18, 2012 at 9:18 p.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
GEORGE JENKINS DEFENSIVE END TANNER REEVES has made a name for himself on Friday nights after switching to defensive end this season for the Eagles. (Photo by HASANI HARPER | SPECIAL TO THE LEDGER )
By HASANI HARPER
After spending the past two seasons at George Jenkins playing on the offensive line then middle linebacker, senior Tanner Reeves has finally found his spot.
When new head coach Eric Gallon took over the program, he went straight to Reeves about making the switch.
"I've known what his true position would be based on his size, height, physical capabilities and his quickness," Gallon said. "I knew it could create problems for teams with him coming off the edge and offensive tackles trying to contain him. Also, if he goes to college, he would be a defensive end/outside backer type rushing off the edge, and I wanted to put him in the best possible position to help him get to college."
Besides making Reeves switch positions, Gallon also gave him a new jersey number: 7.
"When you take on a transformation, you try to look to do something a little bit different," Gallon said. "The top defensive end in the country two years ago was Jadeveon Clowney, who also wore jersey number 7. I told Tanner this is who you are going to play like, this is who you mimic yourself after. Watch film on this guy, see how he comes off that edge, see the aggression that he has. I gave Tanner that number because I wanted him to play like Clowney."
Reeves said he started preparing for the transition in the spring. Then as the summer came, he attended Jimbo Fisher's camp at Florida State and the Down n' Dirty lineman camp at Stetson.
When The Ledger announced in August its 2012 Super 16, the top 16 college football prospects in Polk for the upcoming season, Reeves wasn't on the list. He said he used that as motivation.
"Those are good athletes and it gives me that drive that I have to go hard and put my name out there so people are asking, ‘Who is that Tanner kid,'?" Reeves said.
Through three games, Reeves has tallied 14 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and eight sacks. His breakout performance against Kathleen in week two, when he chased down Red Devils quarterback A'Treyu Farrior for five sacks, helped him land his first offer from Youngstown State.
"When I was watching film during the week we played Kathleen, my coaches were telling me I could get off the ball a lot faster than their offensive tackle could," Reeves said. "So all that week I was working on my get-offs and using my hands. I expected to go out there and do my best getting around the edge, but when it happened, it hit me like this is real."
Coach Gallon was not surprised by Reeves' performance.
"The things we saw, we have known he was capable of doing, so it didn't come as a surprise," Gallon said. "It was as if now he is turning it on and he understands a little bit better what we expect from him. The biggest thing now is for him to motivate the rest of his teammates and be that leader."
Gallon's performance against Kathleen caught the attention of Winter Haven. During their game on Friday, the Blue Devils ran away from Reeves' side.
"I think Winter Haven ran the ball two times to my side the other night," Reeves said. "I was getting ticked because I couldn't do anything but chase."
Gallon said additional college programs have started to show major interest in Reeves.
Ball State and South Florida were in town last week asking about Reeves, with South Florida even inviting him to attend the game against Florida State in Tampa.
"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they offer," Reeves said. "I just got to get good test scores."