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Monday, November 17, 2008
Intimidating Reed once made minor-league hitters quiver

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech tackle Rylan Reed once cut an intimidating presence during his minor-league baseball career.

Reed pitched for four seasons in the Chicago White Sox system. The thought of facing a glowering 6-7, 255-pound Reed, whose fastball topped off at 98 mph, was enough to keep most batters in their tracks.

"I was more of a power pitcher than anything," said Reed, whose career was cut short in 2004 after arm problems. "I gave them a heavy dose of fastballs with a change and slider mixed in. I think the mentality of playing baseball has helped me a lot. I liked the competitive nature of baseball -- me against the hitter. That same competition is present in football."

Only a few months after being named the White Sox's organizational pitcher of the year, Reed was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after he was rushed to the emergency room because of abdominal pains. Doctors had to remove 3 feet of Reed's colon during exploratory stomach surgery, leaving him bedridden for a month. He also endured 3 1/2 months of chemotherapy.

But he bounced back from that and started his football career. He now has added nearly 60 pounds from his baseball playing weight, now tipping the scales at 314 pounds.

Reed has developed into one of Graham Harrell's trustiest pass-blocking threats. The Red Raiders have allowed only five sacks this season and lead the nation in fewest sacks per pass attempts.

But Reed sometimes thinks about his baseball career. One can only imagine how intimidating he must have been while pitching.

"I think it was my size more than anything else," Reed said with a chuckle. "I don't recall having to grow a beard anytime."