YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State defense took a hit before the season even started last season, losing defensive end Justus Reed to an Achilles injury. But Reed is back with the Penguins this year, trying to bring some nastiness back to that YSU defense.
“We are going to be dirty, it is going to be nice,” said Reed after practice this week.
After transferring from Florida, Reed had a breakout first season with the ‘Guins in 2017. A team-high five sacks and Reed was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Newcomer of the Year.
Now, fully healthy from his injury, he has his eye on helping the Penguins get back to their winning ways.
“Do anything to get this team better,” Reed said. “Get us back to where we are supposed to be. We have a really good tradition here of winning and I just want to help get this team back to that.”
“Looks great out there,” said head coach Bo Pelini.
“Justus looks great. He is confident, he looks quick, fast, explosive. I like what I have seen out of Justus the first few days.”
The YSU defense took a step back without Reed on the field last year. They allowed more than 27 points per game, were in the middle of the conference in both rushing and pass defense, and towards the bottom in sacks — something that should change with number four back in the lineup.
“Just how hard we worked this off-season,” Reed said. “I do not think anyone put in as much work as we did, honestly. I have never worked this hard and I have been in college for six years, so I have been here a long time and I have never been with a group of guys that have worked this hard this off-season.”