Armani Reeves was the #6 ranked cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and a four-star-recruit coming out of high school. He earned four stars from Rivals.com, which had him ranked as the #17 cornerback in the nation and the #2 player in the state of Massachusetts. Rivals.com also had Reeves on its Rivals 250 and SuperPrep had Reeves ranked No. 2 in New England and on its all-Northeast team. With all those accolades, Reeves took his talents to The Ohio State University. After catching up with Reeves at the recent NextGen Showcase in Canton, OH, he sat down with Youth1 to talk about his journey, one that isn’t over yet. Here is his Y1 on 1:
Your freshman season in 2012 was coach Urban Meyer's first with the Buckeyes. Was there anything that impacted you most in meeting with him through the recruiting process that he told you and pushed you to commit to Ohio State?
Coach Meyer is one of the best if not, the best coach in college football, so it was an honor to be one of the few guys he called once he got hired at The Ohio State. His presence very early on when he recruited me made me realize why he was successful. He was honest, made promises that were achievable and demanded excellence as soon as he made contact with you. I didn’t care about the records because I knew we were going to do that, I was more concerned about helping me as a person and to continue pushing me to be the best football player I can be.
In 2012, OSU went a perfect 12-0 and in 2014 rolled through Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, 59-0, beat Alabama in a National Playoff game 42-35 and crushed Oregon in the National Championship, 42-20. While I know there are many, any moments or memories that standout most to you over your time at Ohio State?
I have so many great moments at The Ohio State. Being a part of the winningest class in college football history, a National Champion, Big Ten Champion, so many great things happened but the one that stands out the most is just all the great players I’ve played alongside. Bradley Roby, Eli Apple, Doran Grant, Vonn Bell, Tyvis Powell, and those are just the guys in the DB room. We pushed each other all the time and it paid off for everyone because we ended up being some the best DBs in the country.
Do you have one or two mentors that played a major role in your sports journey?
I wouldn’t say I have one but I have people that helped me just succeed as much as possible. I couldn’t name one because I don’t want to leave people out but certain people have helped in different parts of life. Some have come and gone. Others have been with me throughout and good or bad, shaped me to be the man I am today.
Injuries took their toll on you and cost you six games in 2012 and all of your 2015 season as you were a medical redshirt. What advice can you offer to youth athletes on how to persevere and overcome injuries and other obstacles the way you have?
One the thing I can tell kids is to cherish every moment. Some injuries are freak accidents and you can’t control it at all. But what you can do is take care of your body as best as possible. Do whatever the trainers tell you to do to keep your body in peak shape throughout the season. If you do get injured, stay positive and don’t get down, just work hard to get back and don’t lose sight of the goal. Always ask yourself the question, “if it helps you be the best player you can be, then do a lot of it, and if it is not, then don’t do it.”
Concussions and safety are a major concern in all sports, particularly football. Multiple concussions impacted your time at Ohio State. Are you concerned about the long term effects they can have on you?
Concussions are something serious and should be looked at very seriously. I am not worried about my long term effect. My situation is very unique and there were other factors that played into my situation, but I would tell kids and parents, do not let concussions scare you from letting your kids play football or any sports. Sports are good for children and teenagers but do your research before you make serious decisions. The more you know the better you will feel about your son or daughter playing football or any other sport.
What are your thoughts on specializing for youth athletes? Would you advise they play multiple sports or focus on one?
Kids should play a lot of sports. Don’t ever limit yourself. I played football and basketball in high school and was a captain for both teams. My high school basketball team was a top team and played some really good teams around the country. So it helped me continue my competitive drive. Basketball also helped me for football because it kept me in shape. It helped me as a DB in my coverage skills. In high school I would guard guys like Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame), now with the Trail Blazers, Kyle Anderson UCLA), now with the Spurs, and many other guys in AAU. Playing and covering those guys only helped me be a better athlete.
Looking back, is there anything on your journey that you would have changed or done differently?
I wouldn’t change anything because I’m with the person I became, obviously there are things with sports that I wish I could change but to me being a better person take you so much further in the life than being a good athlete.
Best receiver you went up against? Sammy Watkins
Favorite NFL team? I don’t have one
Favorite sport other than football? Basketball. I’m diehard Lakers Nation!!
Outside of sports, what are some of your other interests?
I love video games, music, playing basketball, walking my dog, cars and just being around my friends and doing fun things. I competed in American Ninja Warrior in May.
Do you take part in any philanthropic endeavors or work with any charities that you would like to share with our readers?
I work with a lot of charities. For parents, it should be a requirement to make your child give back to the community. You never know how it can impact your life and make you feel better about your own life. It can make you realize that sports have more meaning because some kids don’t have the opportunity that you have.
Follow Armani on Twitter @PTReeves8
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