In a span of 10 days, Western Michigan has lost two of its starting wide receivers from 2018. On May 5, Keishawn Watson finalized his graduate transfer to Appalachian State and on Tuesday evening, Jayden Reed tweeted his intention to transfer out of Kalamazoo.
Recruiting is now open, thank you WMU for the opportunity! pic.twitter.com/iWf477EhfQ— j.reed13 (@JaydenReed5) May 15, 2019
As a freshman, Reed led the Broncos in several major statistical categories. He was first in receptions with 56, receiving yards with 797, and receiving touchdowns with eight. Reed attained Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) for his standout true freshman campaign.
In addition to his receiver duties, Reed returned 12 punts for 215 yards and one touchdown and also fielded kickoffs late in the season.
Reed’s most recognizable game in his time at Western Michigan was in a 40-39 Week 5 win over Miami (OH). In a game the Broncos trailed by 13 at halftime, Reed propelled them to victory with seven receptions and 137 yards. More than half of his receptions resulted in Western Michigan points, tying Corey Davis for a program-record four touchdowns.
Including the Miami game, Reed tallied 100 yards four times as a freshman. In his first collegiate performance, he caught seven passes for 121 yards in a shootout loss to Syracuse. Reed did not record any receiving stats in his final game in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl loss to BYU, but he did catch a 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Kaleb Eleby in the fourth quarter — marking Western Michigan’s final points of the 2018 season.
With Reed departing, Western Michigan’s shortened wide receiver depth chart takes another hit. Senior wideout D’Wayne Eskridge will likely start alongside incoming redshirt sophomore Jaylen Hall, who only caught 11 passes in 2018.
Western Michigan converted a former wide receiver Anton Curtis (18 receptions, 211 yards in 2017) to cornerback last season, so the next most veteran receiver would be Tyron Arnett, who caught 13 passes as a freshman and four as a sophomore.
Reed’s destination is yet to be announced. Western Michigan will likely open without its leading receiver when Monmouth visits Waldo Stadium on August 31.