This is the third in a series of profiles on the top 15 players on The Detroit News Blue Chip list. Today: No. 13, River Rouge defensive back Reggie Pearson.
Reggie Pearson found a way to get out of his shell to become the complete player, a reason he earned a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team.
Pearson, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back, had eight interceptions during his senior year to help River Rouge earn a Division 4 regional championship. He had seven interceptions his junior year.
“My senior year went pretty good, could have been better, but I definitely appreciate what I went through,” Pearson said. “I had a lot of fun with my teammates, really enjoyed being on the team for four years and seeing the development of the program. I really enjoyed being around the guys and in the community.
“I learned a lot from Coach (Corey) Parker. He’s definitely the teacher type of coach. (He) taught me things I’ll remember, things like, ‘Fear no one, but respect all,’ ... things that will go with me for the long run.”
Pearson graduated early from River Rouge and has enrolled early at Wisconsin so he can get a head start on the competition by participating in spring practice.
So, where did he improve the most his senior year?
“It has to be my leadership, definitely my leadership,” Pearson said. “My first two years I was very, very quiet, basically an introvert to everyone, so Coach (Parker) got on me because he knew if I was an introvert we wouldn’t have had a chance for success. He definitely taught me how to speak up and notice how to take advantage of something by speaking up about it.
“I feel it’s a huge advantage, now being able to speak out. If you were an introvert you wouldn’t be able to have a connection that some people have, wouldn’t be able to build a relationship with somebody that has a future, maybe not the same forte as you, but somebody who can partake in your career. No doubt, communication is a big part of everything and being able to speak to someone properly and have a conversation is important.”
Pearson has come a long way since his freshman year, when he played varsity at 5-5, 140 pounds and kept his opinion to himself.
“He’s been the quarterback of our defense for four years, just had an awesome career, he’s seventh in the MHSAA in interceptions all-time,” Parker said. “He brings a load when he comes to tackle you, so he just gives you that full combination.”
Pearson says his instincts are his greatest strength.
“I feel my instincts are amazing,” he said. (I) don’t know where it comes from, but I’ve just had them my whole life. I can see a play develop, it’s just the best trait I have. I feel like I’m a ball hawk, just near the ball and able to make plays.”
Pearson is roommates at Wisconsin with West Bloomfield receiver Taj Mustapha and cornerback Donte Burton from Georgia. He owns a 4.1 grade-point-average, second in his class, and wanted to attend Wisconsin early for multiple reasons. He picked the Badgers over such other Power Five conference schools as Michigan State (Big Ten), Arkansas (SEC), Vanderbilt (SEC) and Iowa State (Big 12).
“The people here are just amazing, and they’re so helpful and will do anything to make sure you succeed,” Pearson said. “Some schools oversee the education part, but I feel like Wisconsin is the No. 1 academic school in the Big Ten. I just love the coaches and the players are a bunch of great guys. I just really see myself fitting in well here.
“I decided to enroll early because I really wanted to start something else and become something better than I was in high school. I felt high school was too easy, and I needed to make the jump.”
Pearson plans to study interior design.
BLUE CHIP PROFILES