Stevens: Reed, Jacobsen Hope to Shine in All-Star Games

Jan. 18, 2013

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

You play in collegiate All-Star games for several reasons. Hey, it's fun to hang around the locker room with the guys one more time, maybe one last time.

Camaraderie is often listed as the No. 1 thing that former collegiate athletes miss when their careers end.

But there also is something else that collegiate All-Star football games dangle in front of all these NFL wannabes.

The NFL is watching.

The postseason all-star games are a chance to strut your stuff at a slightly different level against a portion of the cream of the collegiate crop. That's what ex-Lobos Lucas Reed and Evan Jacobsen will be doing Saturday.

Reed, a tight end, is playing in the 88th annual East-West Shrine game. Jacobsen, an exceptional long snapper, will hit the turf the same day in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

It will be interesting to see how the NFL scouts judge Reed and Jacobsen. They have some exceptional qualities and a few questions marks.

Jacobsen's specialty is snapping the football and that's important at every level of football. But Jacobsen, at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, is not considered to be a prospect for an NFL O-line.

Evan Jacobsen -- snapper extraordinaire

In a perfect world, the NFL wants a big center that can both play the position at the NFL level and also snap the ball - the two-for-one deal.

But Jacobsen is exceptional at his craft. He has taught at the national level and has a consistent snap time of .65 seconds. He zings the football and he zings it straight.

Jacobsen was the Lobos' starting deep snapper during his entire four-year career at UNM and was voted the Lobos' Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2011, playing 106 snaps without a bad snap. The Laguna Nigel, Calif., native, also set the national high school record for snapping accuracy at San Clemente High School.

Reed was on the path to All-American status as a senior - third team Freshman All-American - when UNM made a huge shift in offensive emphasis. The Lobos decided to run the ball.

In a way, this helps Reed's status with the NFL. He became a hard-nosed blocker and that mentality is important at the next level.

However, Reed only caught five passes in 2012 for 37 yards as UNM pulled back on the passes and Reed's contributions as a blocker became premium. In the NFL, a tight end is expected to catch passes and throw blocks. Reed can do both.

Reed, a First Team All-Mountain pick in 2010, already got a plug from a scouting service which earlier in the week wrote:

"At tight end, Lucas Reed of New Mexico was the only one who really stood out, using his hands to get up field in the seam on multiple occasions, and showcasing the physicality and natural ability to be a high upside tight end. He drew praise from the coaching staff on multiple occasions."

Reed needs review like this. His blocking helped UNM average 301.3 yards per game on the ground to average fifth in the nation this past season. But Reed, a big, 6-foot-6 target, did not get to showcase his hands.

Still, Reed finished his UNM career with 77 receptions for 949 and six touchdowns. He played in 48 games with 33 career starts and ended up tied for the most receptions by a Lobo tight end.

Reed also has genetics on his side. His older brother, Brooks Reed, is a standout linebacker for the Houston Texans . These All-Stars games can help a player's odds in the NFL Draft, but they are more a foot in the door than a make-it-or-break-it opportunity. Sometimes the football just doesn't come your way.

But more than 90 players who participated in the 2012 East-West Shrine game attended NFL camps and 37 were drafted in 2012 and 56 got invites as free agents.

For Jacobsen and Reed, that's probably all they want - a look, a chance.