Manatee alum ready to shine for USF

By Chris Torello , Spectrum Sports USF Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Being home feels right for USF’s Greg Reaves.  He is from the Tampa Bay area (Bradenton) and wears the “Bay Made” USF motto with pride.

The redshirt sophomore has been seeing a significant increase in his reps throughout the spring and early fall practices with the Bulls.

Reaves says he is ready to make an impact and help this team win in 2017.

“I’m just really thankful, I am grateful to the coaching staff,” said Reaves. “I love being out here competing, working with my brothers, and I am just happy that I can contribute to the team.”

Reaves came to USF in 2015 after spending a year at the Air Force Prep Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

“My first Division-I offer coming out of high school was the Air Force Academy,” said Reaves. “My dream was to play Division-I football and they gave me that opportunity. It was the first chance (to play that level) and I took it.

“I went through a year and realized I did not like it as much.”

So, Reaves, a Manatee High alum, called his former coach, Joe Kinnan, for some advice.  Kinnan, a coaching legend with 29 years and five state titles at Manatee between 1981-2000 and 2005-2013, was, at the time, an assistant coach for USF football under previous Bulls coach Willie Taggart (who played for Kinnan at Manatee).

“Coach Kinnan talked to me about the situation and he (as well as other coaches) helped me get set up at USF.”

Kinnan, along with most of the USF offensive coaching staff,  was let go by incoming head coach Charlie Strong following Willie Taggart’s departure for Oregon.

But Reaves still felt right at home. In 2015 Reaves, though not seeing any playing time for the Bulls, earned the Scout Team Award for defense. In 2016 he was able to make in impact on specials teams. Reaves totaled seven tackles in eight games for the Bulls.

Now, he looks to be a key contributor this fall in a season that has the most expectations on the Bulls in the programs’ 21 years of existence.

And to be doing it as one of the 47 Bay Area players for the Bulls is a special feeling for Reaves.

“It is so great,” said Reaves. “You grow up playing with a lot of these guys, playing against them, and to be able to play in front of your family, your friends, it’s a blessing,”

Never forgetting his roots, Reaves is looking forward to keeping up with Manatee football this fall, especially with his little brother, Michael Oliver, on the team as a sophomore quarterback.

“They got a game this Friday against Armwood, so I hope I can go see that one.”

Reaves also addressed seeing Manatee hiring its first ever African American head football coach this spring Yusuf Shakir from Tallahassee-Lincoln.

“I think it is just awesome,” said a smiling Reaves. “(Shakir) is bringing a different culture. (USF defensive backs) coach Cogdell knows him pretty well and speaks highly of him. This coach works with the high school players and they are getting better and competing every single day.”

So is Reaves, only now he is getting better in USF green and gold, even though Manatee blue and red will always be close to his heart.