Football: Reid to play one more season for Tigers
All-America defensive tackle Caraun Reid was granted a fifth year of NCAA eligibility and will return to the football team for the 2013 season. Reid will take the spring semester off and graduate with the class of 2014 in hopes of entering that year’s NFL draft.
A pectoral injury in the first game of Reid’s sophomore season kept him on the sideline for the rest of that year. Because of that, Reid applied for and was granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility. Head coach Bob Surace said Reid informed him of the final decision Tuesday night in a text message.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity to play football again,” Reid said.
In the meantime, Reid said he will continue to train and stay in shape, but that he would concentrate on finding an alternative career plan if his NFL dreams do not pan out. Reid, a leader of the campus Christian group Athletes in Action, said he hopes to work for a church in the spring.
“I’m going to be training actively,” Reid said. “[And] I’m looking to explore more ministry opportunities. It’s something I feel a call to do.”
Reid excelled this past year for a rejuvenated Princeton squad, teaming with fellow senior lineman Mike Catapano to torment opposing backfields. In nine games this year, Reid notched 5.5 sacks, had 9.5 tackles for loss and blocked three kicks for a defense that allowed just under 20 points per game, the third best in the Ivy League. In his most dominant performance, a 19-0 shutout of Brown, the first-team All-Ivy lineman fought for 2.5 sacks, four tackles for a loss and a safety. He was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for those efforts.
“Caraun’s in that category of somebody who just lives up to the standards and expectations that I want,” Surace said. “It’s not just football. He does everything well.”
“He just loves being on the team, and it’s hard stepping away from the guys you’ve been working with for four years,” junior defensive lineman Greg Sotereanos said.
Listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 305 pounds, Reid has received some interest in NFL scouting circles and may have been a late-round or undrafted pickup if he had entered the 2013 draft. An ESPN Insider scout lists his 40-yard dash time at 4.88, and a scouting report from Optimum Scouting’s Eric Galko after this year’s homecoming game against Harvard described Reid as a solidly built defensive tackle with a high motor.
“As a whole, Reid has the quickness laterally and initially, motor and natural size to challenge for a 2013 NFL Draft selection,” Galko’s scouting report read.
Instead, Reid will wait until next year and will be a prospect for the 2014 draft. Catapano said he has heard from many people in his own draft process who are curious about Reid.
“A bunch of people I’ve talked to – scouts, agents, whoever else – are curious about his status,” he said.
With the graduation of defensive captains Catapano and linebacker Andrew Starks, Reid will be required to step into a new role as the defense’s primary leader. Coach Surace compared Reid to former team leaders such as Catapano, Starks, running back Jordan Culbreath ’11 and linebacker Steven Cody ’12, and Reid’s fellow defensive linemen said he would have no trouble filling that void.
“[Reid] just does every little thing right,” Sotereanos said. “A great leader by example, a great player and honestly a game-changer.”
“Having that [type of] guy around leading your team, not only on the field but off the field, he’ll bring everybody else around him up,” Catapano said. “That’s what you want out of a senior player like that.”
Reid’s return increases the Tigers’ hopes for their first Ivy title since 2006. After consecutive dismal 1-9 years in 2010 and 2011, a defense-led Princeton team finished last year a respectable 5-5. That upward trend could continue with a young returning offense and Reid in the middle of the defense.
“Next year, with the guys that are returning, if they include Caraun in that mix, I think [we’re] probably the most talented team in the league next year with returning players,” Catapano said.
“So just to be a part of what could possibly be a title run in the Ivy League to go out as a champion, that’s something I’d give my right arm to do again.”
Still, Surace deflected any question regarding next year’s hopes at this early juncture.
“I’m just hoping we have a good lift tomorrow,” he said.