NFL Legend Ed Reed Must Continue HBCU Buzz Created By Deion Sanders | Is He Bethune-Cookman’s Football Savior?

Ed Reed Takes Over At Bethune Cookman as head football coach
Bethune-Cookman is hoping NFL Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed can have a Deion Sanders style effect on the middling football program. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Bethune-Cookman University has continued the new HBCU trend with the university’s announcement on Dec. 27 of Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed as their 16th head coach in school history.

Who Is Ed Reed? 

Reed was part of the 2001 Miami Hurricanes national championship team and has served under Mario Cristobal at his alma mater the past two seasons as a special adviser to the program. His limited coaching experience didn’t outweigh the fact that Reed knows the game and has a special connection with young athletes.

The 44-year-old Reed distinguished himself as a GOAT safety during 11 seasons with the Ravens. Reed was a five-time All Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler who was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, winning Super Bowl XLVII with Baltimore in 2012.

The Wildcats took a chance on Reed like Jackson State did when they hired Deion Sanders, and they are hoping the results are similar or even better. Reed has myriad challenges ahead, from recruiting to a need for upgraded facilities.

The university and Reed have yet to come to an agreement on the terms of his new contract. That has made Reed refrain from commenting on his new head coaching position. He hasn’t had an official press conference to welcome him to the Wildcats’ family, but the university’s official football twitter page put out a tweet to acknowledge he is their next head coach.

Bethune hasn’t won a football conference championship since 2015 and hasn’t had a winning season since 2019. the program hasn’t been elite since winning Black College Football National championships in 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats went 2-9 in 2022, including a 41-20 loss to their rival Florida A&M.

Can Ed Reed Recruit Like Deion Sanders? 

According to 24/7 sports, the Wildcats ranked 200 overall in the country for recruiting in the class of 2022, but they were able to grab three-star quarterback Walter Simmons III out of the transfer portal.

The Wildcats were only able to grab one player so far out of the class of 2023 and that was through the transfer portal. Jayden Hodge is a three-star safety that spent this past fall at Penn University.

Reed and the Wildcats still have a chance to maybe get a big-time player late in the signing period since it is still early January. But they have a lot of work to do and in that regard he’s already well behind Deion Sanders’ success at the recruiting level. The transfer portal also has left many talented high school players scrambling to find a home, which could be another point of emphasis in Reed’s recruiting strategy.

Despite the tough few years, fans and the Daytona Beach community are excited about Reed’s arrival.

“I think this is a great hire for not only BCU but for HBCUs as a whole. When you bring in a guy of Reed’s caliber and whoever he adds to the staff, that definitely helps in recruiting which in turn helps win games,” said former Wildcats linebacker Trent Bridges. “This hire makes BCU a desired destination. I’m excited to see our program back on top.”

Bridges played for the Wildcats from 2014-18 and was on their 2015 MEAC conference championship team. He understands the culture that he helped build and still has strong connections inside the program.

Players like Bridges, who have great pride and love for their HBCU, are the reason athletics director Reggie Theus advocated so strongly for the hiring of Reed.