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Winston Reid wrapping up Weber State football career as all-time great defender

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Nov 16, 2023
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Weber State linebacker Winston Reid (6) sacks Central Washington quarterback JJ Lemming on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.
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Weber State linebacker Winston Reid celebrates after a tackle against Montana during a Big Sky Conference game Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden. (ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner)
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Utah's Ja'Quinden Jackson (3) tries to break the tackle of Weber State's Winston Reid on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Salt Lake City.

OGDEN — Winston Reid went from a walk-on, special teams, backup player to starter and all-Big Sky Conference player in one offseason and has been a starting linebacker at Weber State for only two seasons.

In that framing, his on-field production makes him one of the all-time great defensive players to strap on the pads for the Wildcats.

That summary of his career path, however, belies the work and dedication it took Reid to put himself in All-American and defensive-player-of-the-year conversations.

“He’s always consistent in his approach,” WSU head coach Mickey Mental said. “So because of that, whether you’re winning or losing, the message has always been consistent in the locker room … how we’re perfecting our craft, how we’re getting better each and every day, and are we focused on us or focused on outside noise?

“So that’s what Winston provides is just that high level of consistency, no matter what the situation is.”

The 6-foot-1 backer born in St. George, who prepped at West Jordan’s Copper Hills, has one more game to cement himself in the WSU record book as the Wildcats travel to Cal Poly for the regular-season finale Saturday.

His first career forced fumble came in October 2021 at Cal Poly, spinning the quarterback around and flinging the ball loose, allowing fellow linebacker BJ Taufalele to pick it up and step into the end zone for a touchdown.

Last week, the fumble Reid forced against Idaho — tripping up receiver Jermaine Jackson in a way that resulted in Jackson coughing up the ball — was the ninth of his career. That ties him for first with Brady Fosmark (2002-05) in WSU’s record book.

Of his 273 career tackles, he had 51 in the 17 games he played in 2021. Then in 23 games between 2022 and 2023, he’s racked up 222 tackles. He’s 14 total tackles from landing in WSU’s top-10 list.

Reid’s made hay on solo tackles, however. His 68 in 2022 were the fifth-most in any WSU season. His 63 so far this season are ninth-best in program history. He has 165 career solo tackles, tying him for third with Danny Rich (1978-81). With three solo tackles at Cal Poly, Reid would move ahead of Nick Webb (167, 2008-11) and into second place on the all-time career list.

After totaling 17 tackles against Idaho to earn national defensive player of the week honors, Reid is averaging 11 tackles per game, eighth best in the country. His 6.3 solos per game are seventh-best nationally.

Reid’s been key in helping lead what became, due to injuries, the second-youngest depth chart in FCS; Mental has praised his 11 seniors continuously for keeping the locker room together despite a 1-4 start in Big Sky play.

“Just day in and day out, you come to work and you do the little things,” Reid said. “Guys are stepping up into bigger roles and starting to play really well … peaking late in the season.”

Reid says the 2021 roster was much more experienced, but he’s brought some lessons forward from a similar situation where a few games late in the season maybe had less at stake than players were used to.

“The big thing for them that year was just controlling what you can control. You already lost those games, but you do the little things, come in every day and work,” Reid said. “We want to leave on a positive note and teach the younger guys, show them how things are supposed to be, how we operate.”

The Wildcats (5-5, 3-4 Big Sky) are aiming for the program’s ninth consecutive winning season at Cal Poly and would rather make someone else tell them they’re done playing.

“It’s a slim chance, but we go into this game and win … you never know if we can make (the playoffs) or not until it’s decided,” Reid said.


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