Troy Reeder feels right at home with Hens in Smyrna scrimmage

Troy Reeder

Troy Reeder

SMYRNA — Troy Reeder has only been a Delaware football player for a few months.

But, in some ways, the Penn State transfer has been a Blue Hen all his life.

As he stood there in a Delaware football uniform on Saturday afternoon, Reeder admitted it didn’t feel strange at all.

With his dad, Dan, a former Blue Hen star, Troy grew up going to UD games.

“I spent a lot of my life picturing myself in this uniform,” said Reeder. “It feels right.

“I had one of these in my basement growing up,” he said, holding up his winged Blue Hen helmet.

Downstate Delaware fans got their first glimpse of Reeder as a Blue Hen on Saturday as UD held its annual spring scrimmage at Smyrna High.

The sophomore linebacker actually didn’t stay out on the field too long. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder took part in only a few plays before sitting out the rest of the afternoon with a minor leg injury.

Clearly, though, the Hens are glad to add a former major-college starter to their already-promising defense.

“He’s been a great player so far,” said junior linebacker Charles Bell. “He’s very smart. He’s good to hang out with. I think we’re all hitting it off pretty good. He’s a good kid.

“We can always use good linebackers. We probably have three-deep at each position that could all start and play. So yeah, we have a lot of potential.”

“He’s a talented player,” coach Dave Brock said about Reeder. “He started at Penn State and was fourth on their team in tackles. So football is not the issue.

“It’s more of an acclimation thing now. He’s doing a great job in school, he’s doing a great job for us. We’re excited about what he’s going to add to our program in the fall.”

An 11-game starter as a redshirt freshman at Penn State last fall, Reeder was in on 67 tackles. He earned first-team Freshman All-Big 10 and second-team Freshman All-American honors.

The former Salesianum star said there’s not too much difference between Delaware’s defense and what they ran with the Nittany Lions. Still, he knows he’s got some learning to do.

“A lot of it’s really translation,” said Reeder. “For me, it’s really like learning another language right now. And it’s coming along well.

“That’s what’s great for me to be able to come in for spring ball. I get all of this out of the way. I make the little mistakes now and head into camp feeling like a veteran.”

Even with his resume, Reeder also knows he has to earn his place on the field.

The Hens return all their linebackers from last season, led by Bell and fellow junior Anthony Jackson.

“You don’t expect to come in and take over right away,” said Reeder. “You’ve got to prove yourself on the field and in the classroom, everywhere. It’s a process.”

WRs have something to prove

If there’s any one position group that wants to bounce back from a tough 2015 season, it’s Delaware’s receivers.

There were plenty of reasons why the Hens’ passing game struggled. But the wideouts know there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“I think we were motivated last year, we just didn’t get the results we wanted,” said junior receiver DeAndre Davis. “This year we’re really hungry for a winning season. We know we were better than that.”

For Davis, Saturday’s scrimmage was a homecoming of sorts. He’s from Smyrna, although he played at St. Mark’s High.

At 6-foot, 195 pounds, Davis knows he’s got to be at the top of his game if he wants to see playing time.

“You’ve got to stay in the (play) book,” he said. “The more you know, the better. I know I’m not going to be faster than anybody, I’m not going to be stronger. But, if I know what I’m doing. … that’s why I focus on that really.”

Extra points

All four quarterbacks — Joe Walker, Blake Rankin, Pat Kehoe and Christian Portale — saw playing time on Saturday with mixed results. On the second play from scrimmage, Walker hit Vinny Papale with a 40-yard pass. Kehoe also threw a short scoring pass to a wide-open Ricky Emerson. … Nasir Adderley, who started all 11 games at cornerback as a true freshman last fall, is seeing some time at receiver this spring. He didn’t play on Saturday, though, because of a slight injury. Adderley caught 68 passes for 1,025 yards as a high-school receiver. … Indian River High grad Jamie Jarmon, now a second-year receiver, sat out with an injury.

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