Motivated Florida DE Tramar Reece commits to Hoosiers #iufb

A lot has changed in the last nine months for Tramar Reece, and the 6-foot-3 defensive end from Clearwater, Fla., capped off those changes on Sunday when he tweeted a commitment to play college football at Indiana University.

The Hoosiers were among other power conference schools such as Duke, Purdue, Iowa State and Louisville to offer Reece, whose recruitment took off this offseason to include 18 total offers.

Playing at just 186 pounds last fall, he still collected 31 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries en route to earning second team All-Pinellas County honors from the Tampa Tribune as a junior at Clearwater High School, the alma mater of IU offensive line coach Greg Frey.

“The main reason (he was 186 pounds) is he wasn’t the hardest worker in weight room,” Clearwater coach Don Mesick told the Herald-Times by phone late Sunday night. “A lot of that was he loved basketball and thought he’d play college basketball, so he was not as committed. But now that football is his ticket, he’s committed and put on almost 20 pounds from last season. He’s really turned it around as far as work in weight room goes.”

But all of that has its roots in the tragedy that struck on Oct. 29, 2015. Reece’s mother, Tracey, died of a sudden heart attack at her desk, leaving not only Reece, but the entire Clearwater football team in shock.

“His mom was an A-plus parent, helped the program out a lot and was a person who was always there, attended everything,” Mesick said. “She was a great lady, an awesome mom and just the suddenness of her passing took everybody by surprise.”

Reece missed practice that Thursday, but returned to the field on Friday night to record three tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries in Clearwater’s 49-20 win over Osceola for the district championship.

It was the start of his efforts to make himself bigger and better in achieving his mom’s dream for his future.

“She really wanted Tramar to go to college,” Mesick said. “She worked hard for him to go to college and wanted him to have the opportunity.

“I think part of his motivation was to grant her wish, and he saw that he had the opportunity to do that with football instead of basketball. So he’s able to fulfill her dream of him going to school, and that plays into it, no doubt about it.”

A three-star recruit according to 247 Sports and the fifth commit for Indiana’s 2017 recruiting class, Reece still has room to grow.

“Indiaa is getting a kid with a real high motor, a hard worker, a long athletic kid,” Mesick said. “They’re planning on playing him at wide end, a pass rusher who can drop into coverage. Right now he’s 215 pounds, but he has broad shoulders and can be a 250-pound kid with great feet and terrific balance. He’s always 100 miles an hour and always had terrific athleticism.”

That growth potential also exists off the field.

“He’s got intangibles, is a team player, loves the guys around him, is a real pleasant kid to be around,” Mesick said. “Everybody likes Tramar and is rooting for him.”


  1. the tape on this kid is off the charts. First play he beats the blocker, tips a pass, catches it himself and returns it for a touchdown. Another play he slips past the blocker and runs down the qb on the opposite side of the field behind the line of scrimmage. This is a kid with really, really great upside. If he can add weight, the sky is the limit. This is the long athletic player we have been waiting for. LeShaun Minor, the defensive tackle that signed today, is the same thing- long, athletic, disruptive but needs to add weight. Both these guys have the potential to be difference makers for the IU defense. If both of these guys were 30 lbs heavier, they would be 4 star recruits. Really exciting day to be an IU football fan.

  2. We are seeing better defensive players committing to IUFB. It is just another example of how IU is improving as this team really improves the players they get. I am really glad to see Minor committing to IUFB as he is one of the inside players IU needs to compete with the best teams in the B1G.

    Both players look very explosive and making plays. Players that can make plays are the ones we need for this team.

  3. 123, you are right about these two recruits being disruptive players. Minor has already focused on football and went from 270 pounds to 292 pounds so he has the size to go with his playing ability. His highlight tape also showed him tipping a pass and catching it taking it for a TD. Reece has a good motor and recognizes plays which puts him in position to make special plays. He does need to put on weight and along with Stallings IUFB can have DEs that are play makers in the B1G. Stallings especially has closing speed and hitting ability but Reece is close to the same level.

    It hasn’t been a quick turn around but it certainly looks like IU is turning the corner and developing into a contender in the East. Going against major powers doesn’t make it easy but offensively we are already at or near the top. It takes special coaches to make IUFB a contender and I believe we have those coaches that can do that. Hopefully with the new TV money coming in IU will be able to keep the assistant coaches so other programs don’t scoop them up. I worry about a couple of the offensive coaches leaving but really hope Coach Frey and McCollough stay along with the other coaches. IU needs stability to become a factor in the NCAA and the next few years will determine if they can get to be a top 25 team or not.

  4. Offensively, IU fb has some good moments but are not near or at the top against the best competition with games on the line to make wins happen on a more consistent basis.

  5. t, one of my knocks against Sudfeld was he didn’t have the knack of making winning plays. He was an outstanding stats QB but one area he didn’t do well in was comp %. I am hoping that with Lagow he will show the knack for winning plays plus adding Natee will give IU a power back to use in short yardage situations. I also would point out it has been a case of some questionable play calling with the game on the line causing loses.

    Another point is with a better defense the offense won’t be so lacking. Last year against OSU we were up by a couple of scores until the three long TD runs gave OSU the winning edge. Offensively against the best teams IU offense has scored enough points for wins but when you can’t stop the opponent the offense will always seem to come up short. Michigan, Iowa, and other games were the same way. It takes offense, defense, and kicking games to make a winning team. I hope we see a defense this year that can hold teams for the game instead of just the 3rd quarter.

  6. I wanted to add that after seeing Jerome Johnson in the belly flop competition I wonder if he will get playing time this year. He was a highly rated DT at one time and if Coach Hagen can get him back to that level then I could see someone with his size and motor playing on the DL this year. If our other DL players keep him out then our front four should be pretty good. There are a number of good addition to the defense this year which gives me hope defense can be a factor finally.

  7. v, like many I like the IU offense but your comment about a better D most certainly would make the offense more efficient. A better D would also gain field position, absolutely would affect play calling and scoring. IU having a equal team playing on both sides of the ball would also affect the very same things for the opponents. IU is so close. Allen and Hagen are so in control of their own destiny here in the home state. I think they can meet and exceed Wilson’s vision for IU FB.

  8. Does Indiana traditionally produce more than a bushel basket of 5-star football talent?

    I thought the states of Ohio, California, and Texas own the gridiron high school talent that prospers with the same level of certainty as job security and mega million dollar contracts for Tom Crean.

    Don’t we need more hiring connections to those states than the hiring of Indiana football coaches with the ‘inside track’ to the same small sample set of talent that ND, OSU, MSU, and Michigan barely need more than a tank of gas and one casual phone call to steal away?

    Do Indiana high schools actually produce that much 4-star and 5-star talent(especially on the defensive side of the equation)? We seem to be more qualified at turning out blossoming QB’s who fizzle terribly by the time they get to the NFL. Forgive me for being the cynic….I almost forgot about Alex Karras of Gary Emerson…(coincidentally, my old man played for the same high school and, coincidentally, earned All-State honors with scholarship offers from Michigan and Purdue). We do produce a Hall of Fame defensive player(or any football player for that matter) once every half century.

    Hiring Indiana high school football coaches to corner a market in Big 10 football seems akin to Duke rebuilding a defunct basketball program 35+ years ago by hiring a coach from Mississippi instead of luring an assistant that worked for the greatest X’s and O’s brain ever who just happened to operate in the greatest basketball state ever.

  9. I’m not sure if these local hires do more for Wilson’s job security than actually building inroads to the top recruits tied to top talent producing states throughout the land.

    I’m rather tired of all the job security building ….Securing a new basketball coach(?) who plays a major hand in hiring the new AD, the business tycoon, the Ronald ‘Fred’ Frump stadium and hotel builder of Indy, may do a ton for that newly hired coach’s job security, but it really does nothing in convincing the plethora of Indiana h.s. basketball talent to believe we have landed the sort of coaching ability to win championships.

  10. And a head football coach who pulls out his final Hoosier Hail Mary to hire some local h.s. coach seems to be buying more time via pandering and politics….I don’t think this formula can compete with the Duke formula used to build basketball in Blue Ridge hoops hillbilly desert.

    The more we play politics with our sports programs, the more the droughts of not appearing in any form on the game’s biggest stages will continue. Friendships with business tycoons doesn’t make for knowledge at the chalkboard. My idea of marquee football hire(defensive or otherwise) is one with the channels/power/prestige to influence beyond the slim pickings of football fruit in the Hoosier peach basket.

    Are we building for banners and Rose Bowls or are we building walls and a Fred
    Frump Hotel in Bloomington where all jobs are lifetime guaranteed and protected with a sort of mob incompetence mentality of ‘who you know’ rather than ‘what you know?’

  11. Long story short…

    In our ‘Banner Era,’ the brainy coach(a PhD of hoops without the cardboard degree), was the unique find in our tiny bushel basket that ran our business…His knowledge fueled our campus and it trickled down to build Fred Frump and his Kelley prestige.

    In our ‘Drought Era,’ the business is now running our sports bushel basket out of business….The Kelley force exerts its power and influence to build ‘trickle up’ incompetence within the sports programs.

  12. You need to spend some time digesting the bios of Wilson and his staff.

  13. H4H, coach Allen was a coach in the SEC along with coach Hagen. Both add recruiting experience in the South along with connections in Indiana. Tod be consistently good IUFB has to bring in the top Indiana players [why do you think ND,UM, OSU, and MSU swoop in and get players from Indiana?] National boards and magazines have rated coach Allen as one of the top new DC [Johns and Allen were rated one of the top 15 OC DC combinations] also coach Hagen was rated in the top five as a recruiter. If you check out the coaches then you would realize what Coach Wilson got with these two defensive hires. We will see if they can make the quick improvement in our defense they have at other schools.

  14. Are there that many “top” Indiana football players from Indiana(especially defensive players)? I know my Bears got hung witsh a coupe of “top” disasters. One named Rex Grossman….The other is a pout-faced guy that has been a money-sucking joke.

    Bobby Knight was a great mind…but does he have the success without the huge talent pool from Indiana that put him on the map?

    These “great minds” of football now on Wilson’s payroll are not operating in the same world as most those teams/states with oodles of talent where they earned such prowess/respect. Reputations burn quickly at Memorial. It’s akin to placing Bobby Knight fresh out of West Point to coach at Montana State.

    At least Wilson isn’t afraid to change defensive coordinators….Tom Crean would be proud of his three deflections…..

  15. I would think that the number of “top” players from Indiana shouldn’t have a huge bearing on how good IU can be. Purdue and ND have done just fine over the years in a “basketball state.” Oregon is a national powerhouse and perennial title contender that gets most of its talent from California and Washington. With Ohio next door, which is loaded with pigskin talent, you’d think that IU could pluck some of second-tier OSU fringe recruits and the like.

  16. Here is a partial list which includes several defensive players

    One not name is Jaylon Smith [LB from Ft Wayne Bishop Luers] that was considered the #1 player coming into the draft until he blew out his knee in the bowl game. Every year Indiana has 10-15 players or more that play D1 football. IUFB can’t live and die on only Indiana players which is why they hit FL, Ga, Ohio, Texas and the Chicago area hard. IUFB needs to get as many of the top ten players from Indiana they can, as we routinely have five to ten high school players move on to the NFL after their college career.

    The perception of Indiana football is different from what B1G coaches think of Indiana football which is why so many come in and recruit our players. No one is suggesting that IUFB build their defense on just Indiana players, but I would have loved to have players like Jaylon Smith, S. Brown, A.J. Eads, C Jones, Ryan Kerrigan, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mike Neal, Bernard Pollard, Kawann Short, Anthony Spencer playing defense for IU. Also Randy Gregory went to Nebraska and was selected in the second round in 2015 despite failing a drug test [I am only looking at talent here]. There are more that can be on this list but this only includes current NFL players.

  17. Seahawk Tom, You re right that IUFB isn’t limited to just Indiana players. I think IU has the talent to have a defense as good as Northwestern’s defense and we will see if DC Allen can get them to play that well. There is no excuse for IU defense to not play at the level that will get them into the middle of the B1G. With the history of Nebraska football and the quality of recruit they were almost as bad as IU’s defense last year. It doesn’t take much to fail in a league with top teams in the country but by the same token it doesn’t take much to improve either.

    IUFB as all the parts then need to have a winning season this year. The defense has added quality players and return players with a lot of playing experience which should lead to an improved defense this coming year.

  18. ND is a private school with decades of football lore….They are also far closer to all the advertising benefits that comes with nearness to a Chicago market always fueling more media attention.

    Please don’t even attempt to put that sort of history and geographic strength next to IU football tucked in the southern hills of Indiana.

    Purdue is an average football program once every 10 years…They looked far more the part of a basketball school while whooping the Washington Huskies best basketball team in decades….(a few years back in a trip to a Sweet 16 match-up). Only a “basketball school” like IU could recruit the real Isiah Thomas capable of banner performances and putting Purdue back in their place as a longtime stellar football program and b-ball wannabee.

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