Despite his strong feelings towards UNC, Reed, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle, says he hasn't completely closed the door on other schools. He wants to have a ‘Plan B' incase his situation doesn't work out with UNC.
"If anything ever happens, I still have to have my options open just in case," Reed said. "I wouldn't mind visiting other schools, but schools know that I am committed."
Reed says that most schools have stopped recruiting him since he verbally committed. Those that have continued to recruit him – namely Florida and Tennessee – have significantly slowed their efforts.
During his summer visit to UNC, Reed spent a lot of time with Deke Adams, his primary recruiter and UNC's defensive line coach, and met extensively with academic advisors.
"They broke down what classes I could take that would transfer to North Carolina," Reed said. "Most of all my classes are going to transfer – all but one or two."
In order to transfer to UNC, Reed needs to graduate from East Mississippi with 48 transferred credit hours. Further complicating the situation, he is attempting to squeeze two years worth of classes into a year in a half (he enrolled in East Mississippi last January).
"I make sure any class I take will transfer to North Carolina, but I also have to take classes [required for graduation for East Mississippi]," Reed said. "It gets stressful at times, but it's the price I have to pay – and it's the price I'm willing to pay."
Reed expects to graduate from East Mississippi in May. However, if necessary, he will have two summer semesters to fill any unforeseeable voids in meeting his transfer requirements.
Reed and Adams communicate regularly. The two try to speak once a week, but some weeks their schedules don't allow that.
"He's just telling me how he's ready to get me there and get me on the field," Reed said. "He said he's going to need some help on the inside."
Unlike an incoming high school senior, the prospects for Reed immediately competing for playing time at UNC are very good. Reed will arrive as a true sophomore two years removed from high school ball thanks to his one-semester detour at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy.
"[Adams] told me as soon as I get there to be ready to come in and play," Reed said. "So right now, here at JuCo, we have a really great coaching staff that is preparing us for that. So I'll be ready when it comes time to hit the field."
Aided by that semester prepping at Hargrave, Reed's transition has been smooth playing for one of the top programs in the JuCo ranks.
"The level of competition is something that I was able to get used to really fast," Reed said. "To me, it comes down to how you approach it. My approach was: I'm on the collegiate level now."
In five games, Reed has accumulated 18 tackles (9 solo). His last game was somewhat of a breakout performance where he totaled six tackles, including three solo and two for a loss.
East Mississippi, which is the reigning NJCAA national champion, is undefeated and ranked fifth in the nation.
"I feel like we can repeat," Reed said. "But we're just trying to take it game by game. I feel really good about this team."
East Mississippi's schedule has made it difficult for Reed to watch many UNC games. Thus, he has only caught highlights from the Elon and Wake Forest games.
"I think they're doing a really good job considering they're installing new schemes," Reed said. "I think they're going to play better the more the players play in the schemes."
East Mississippi's final regular season game is Oct. 27. While he hasn't made any plans, Reed is hopeful he'll be able to attend – or at least watch – one of UNC's November games.
"I don't even know the next time I'll be back home [to Goldsboro, N.C.]," Reed said. "But I really hope I can make a UNC game."