Another top recruit in the state of Michigan is heading to IMG Academy.
Antwan Reed, Muskegon’s massive class of 2018 left tackle and a four-star prospect on Rivals.com, told his head coach Shane Fairfield on Monday he was leaving the Big Reds and heading to the popular athletic academy in Bradenton, Fla.
“This is the worst case losing a kid like him,” Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield said Thursday. “And he brought a lot of personality to the team. He has some really good friends on this team and he’s brought a lot of charisma to the team, so you lose more than just a football player.”
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Reed, a rising junior who doesn’t turn 16 until October, has scholarship offers from Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Penn State and most recently Florida.
He is the No. 7 prospect in the state of Michigan for the 2018 class, according to 247Sports.com.
Fairfield said Reed didn’t give any specifics on why he was leaving, but added it was a family decision and “all we can do is support that and move on and continue to coach the guys that we have.
“It did blindside us somewhat,” Fairfield said. “I know there was a visit where they flew down to meet with those guys (IMG Academy) and see the place and then it kind of went away and it was quiet, and last I knew, A.J. was with us. And then Monday, he came in and told me he was leaving and going down there.
“After the initial shocks wears off, you just have to move on. … If IMG is going to come pluck kids from Muskegon high school, I guess then that means we must be doing something right.”
Reed joins Orchard Lake St. Mary receiver KJ Hamler, who declared he was leaving for IMG Academy in June, as local high-profile recruits to leave for IMG.
Why are kids leaving their hometowns for IMG?
“The whole training thing,” Fairfield said. “I know A.J.’s goal is to play in the NFL. He has said before he wanted to be in the NFL. If that’s the case, you gotta start networking and putting yourself out there. If you go to these best facilities and that’s where they can guarantee you an NFL draft pick and if you’re a kid and that’s where you want to go, then go, chase your dreams.”
The Big Reds leave Sunday for team camp and will have left guard Kaleb McMann (6-6, 280) slide over to tackle to fill the crater left by Reed’s absence.
Muskegon, which lost to Lowell last season in the D-2 regional final, opens the 2016 season in the Battle of the Big House on Aug. 27 against Ann Arbor Pioneer.