AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn has no shortage of plans for multi-talented wide receiver Trovon Reed this season.
He’ll catch passes. He’ll run reverses. He’ll return punts. He’ll play wildcat quarterback.
Ask wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor what kind of role Reed will have, and he brings up UConn’s Kemba Walker, who led the Huskies to this season’s NCAA men’s basketball title.
“They get it in the man’s hands who is going to do something,” Taylor said. “We’re going to try and get it in that man’s hands. Every time he touches it, he makes something special happen.”
The Tigers have high hopes for the 6-foot, 188-pound Reed, who is back near 100 percent after losing his first season on the Plains when he aggravated a high school knee injury.
The top-ranked prospect out of Louisiana in 2010, Reed figured to be a major part of Auburn’s plans last season, a likely candidate to play wildcat quarterback and a threat to work out of the slot as a receiver.
But he tweaked his knee in late August and never fully recovered.
“I wasn’t healthy at all last year,” he said. “My knee was bothering me the whole time, but I felt like I could do it. Because it would be bothering me during the week, but when I get in front of 87,000, my adrenalin would be rushing so I wouldn’t feel it.”
He sat out two games before giving it a go against Clemson. Reed carried twice for 8 yards out of the wildcat, then went back to the bench, shelved for the rest of the season.
“It was tough, but it was a lesson learned,” said Reed, who applied for and received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA to regain a year of eligibility.
“Sometimes coming out of high school, people can boost you up so much that you start getting a big head. ‘I’m going to college and am going to play right away.’ That was my wake-up call. Your career could be gone like that.”
Reed didn’t feel healthy until the BCS title game neared. He began working out again, testing the knee with various exercises. It felt fine.
This spring, he is full speed, showing coaches flashes of his vast potential.
“He looked pretty fast to me, looked like he was back,” offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said earlier this spring. “He has a smile on his face, and he was competing. He’s one of those guys who we need to be on the field. Before he got hurt in the fall, he made some ‘wow’ plays. He’s got the ability to make big plays.”
Auburn needs play-makers, especially from its pass catchers. Human highlight reel quarterback Cam Newton is preparing for the NFL draft, while last year’s starting wide receivers -- Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery -- are both gone. So is Kodi Burns, who held the wildcat quarterback duties during Malzahn’s first two years running the offense.
Reed, a logical choice to fill the void, is just happy to be back doing what he loves.
“It just feels so great to be out there, to be coached up by the coaches, getting mistakes fixed,” he said. “Some people may look at that as a bad thing, but I look at it as a blessing to be out here. If I make a mistake and a coach gets on me, I’m just happy to be out here, so I’ll say, ‘Yes sir,’ and go back to do what I was doing.”