Cougar duo chooses Fayetteville State
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2011 1:47 PM
Childhood friends who grew up across the street from each other, it's a good thing Jarran Reed and Michael Sykes haven't tired of each other ... yet.
They'll be together four more years. The Goldsboro High duo signed national letters-of-intent to play football next fall at Division II Fayetteville State University on Thursday morning.
Family influence and program tradition factored into the decision.
Reed represents the third generation from his family to attend the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association school. His grandmother and his mother each graduated from FSU.
Sykes has brothers playing at N.C. A&T and Virginia Tech. His father played in Texas, while his mother graduated from CIAA member Johnson C. Smith. And his grandmother has a degree from Fayetteville State.
"To see how getting a degree helped them and the opportunities they were given, you understand how important the education is," said Reed, who aspires to become an engineer since his grandfather worked in construction.
"It's all about getting your education first, and then sports."
Reed and Sykes plan to search for former Goldsboro standouts Marcus Uzzell and Anthony Council once they step onto campus. The support from those two players should help ease the anxiety that Reed and Sykes expect to experience during their freshman season.
Fayetteville State finished 5-5 last year, but won four of its final five contests. The Broncos claimed the CIAA championship in 2009 and have won three league titles overall since 2002.
Broncos head coach Kenny Phillips picked up 15 players, all from North Carolina, on national signing day. Reed and Sykes are expected to help bolster a defense that surrendered 334.6 yards and nearly 32 points a game last season.
"I know they have a young defense," said Reed, who was named the 2010 News-Argus All-Area Defensive Player of the Year. "They can work with me and I can work hard for them, produce on the defensive side."
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Reed averaged nearly 10 tackles a game for the Cougars. Sykes (6-1, 175) recorded close to seven stops a game and picked off three passes in the secondary.
"As long as you push yourself to the max and go to the farthest measure, then you get the upper edge," said Sykes. "We know there are other competitors out there and everyone is fighting for a spot. No one has guaranteed you anything.
"You have to go out there and do your best."
Reed and Sykes helped lead Goldsboro to three consecutive 10-win seasons, an eastern regional final appearance in 2009 and two Carolina 1-A Conference championships during their career.
"They have helped bring our program back to some respectability and I am proud of them for that," said Goldsboro head coach and alum Eric Reid. "I tell people every day, it's not what I've done, it's what they have done. They've made it so the younger kids want to play Cougar ball again.
"The road ahead is going to be harder, but hopefully the tools we've prepared them with here will help them in that transition. I hope and pray they have a bright future."