Warren Central’s Buys set to play in Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game

Published 8:00 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

Reed Buys was running late. A coach from Georgia State had flown to Mississippi for the day to speak to him about joining the school’s football program, and the meeting had delayed Buys’ arrival for this appointment by an hour.

The mild-mannered Warren Central offensive lineman was apologetic as he settled in. The delay was unfortunate, but understandable. As one of the top high school football players in Mississippi, Buys is a man in demand for both his time and services.

The senior right tackle has received more than 20 scholarship offers so far, and signing day is still nearly two months away.

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“It’s been exciting. It’s cool to wake up every day and have a new school talking to you, and coaches texting and calling you,” Buys said. “The hard thing is you’ve got to say no to some of them and that’s tough because you want to go everywhere and you can only go to one school.”

Buys plans to make his decision in February rather than during the early signing period in December. He’s still weighing his options and, he hopes, adding to the long list of teams vying for his signature. He’ll get a chance to make a strong impression when he plays in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game on Monday night.

The top players in each state will gather in Montgomery, Alabama, for the game at 6:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live on WLBT.

“This is great exposure for me, going against those SEC-caliber guys. If they see me do well against them then the big schools will be calling. I’m hoping something big will come from that,” Buys said. “It’s going to be very businesslike. I’m going to be on 110 percent trying to show them why I’m there and why I deserve to be there, and that I’m one of the top linemen in Mississippi.”

Buys added that playing in the Mississippi-Alabama Game has long been a goal. The game is considered the more elite of two all-star games for Mississippi players, where the best of the best gather and nearly everyone is a top recruit.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I remember watching it on TV when I was about 10 years old and saying, ‘I want to do that. It’s something special.’ It’s pretty cool,” Buys said. “I like to think I’m a good player, but I don’t see myself being the best of the best. But it’s a blessing to stop and think you’re a part of that and to play on the same level as those guys. A lot of those guys are going to play in the NFL one day and it’s special to be a part of that.”

In a lot of ways, Buys is a prototype right tackle. He’s 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds and nimble on his feet, a two-year starter for one of the better Class 6A programs in Mississippi who has competed against the best the state has to offer. He even has a family pedigree — his older brother Talbot was an offensive lineman at Ole Miss.

Buys’ stock has risen over the past year or so as he impressed college coaches in a number of offseason camps. A strong senior season cemented his status as a top prospect.

“He has gotten better not only every year, but every week. He really worked hard in the offseason last year to make himself stronger and get himself where he needed to be,” WC coach Josh Morgan said. “I also think playing at the level we play at, he goes against guys that are just as good and top recruits as well. There are no question marks on Reed. This is what you’ve got and what you’ve been playing against. It erases any doubts or concerns with Reed, because you just have to turn on tape. He’s really what these coaches are looking for.”

Most of Buys’ offers so far have come from schools in Conference USA, the Sun Belt Conference and Football Championship Subdivision leagues. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference have talked to him but not made firm offers.

Buys said he’d like to follow his older brother and play at Ole Miss, but wasn’t sure it would work out.

“They have five O-line commits right now, so I’m not sure if an offer is going to come from there unless they don’t sign the number of guys they want,” he said.

Even if it’s not at an SEC school, however, Buys will sign with someone in February. There is no shortage of suitors. Morgan said whoever does land him will wind up with an outstanding player.

“He’s physically gifted with his size and super smart. Very gritty and tough. He’s another good football IQ and another good athlete,” Morgan said. “People like Reed are hard to come by, who have the size to go along with the intangibles that he has such as being hard working and smart and a great teammate and tough. You look at Reed and he really has a lot of people after him.”

• Monday, 6:30 p.m.
• At Montgomery, Alabama

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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