Former Husky Mike Reed, a versatile fullback in the mid-1990s, died Friday in Bakersfield, Calif., after a long bout with a rare form of cancer.
He was 39.
Former UW tailback Terry Hollimon visited Reed in Bakersfield last week. Hollimon said Reed was diagnosed with cancer about eight years ago.
“Mike was a great guy, man,” Hollimon said. “He was a real fun-loving, caring guy — a guy I would go to war with any day.”
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In his final game for UW, Reed had a 64-yard touchdown run on a fake punt he called during UW’s 51-23 victory over Michigan State team in the Aloha Bowl in 1997. That is a UW record for the longest run in a bowl game.
“Our class was the Class of ’93, and we have an unusually tight-knit group of guys,” Hollimon said. “We were the last class that was recruited by Don James. When we came in, we had an option to all transfer without any penalty. We met as a group of 17-, 18-year-old kids and decided as a group that we were going to stick around and try to win a national championship before we finish. And he was an integral part of that group.”
Although he was undrafted, Reed would spend the 1998 season with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
Born Jan. 6, 1975 in Washington, D.C., Reed “probably traveled farther than any other player has to become a Husky,” his UW bio noted. Reed played high-school football in England, where his father, an Air Force sergeant, was stationed.
At UW, Reed eventually blossomed into a 220-pound starting fullback. As a junior in 1996, he had 42 carries for 112 yards in 10 games.
Reed once said he was “like a brother” to star running back Rashaan Shehee. Indeed, Reed and his family spent the past few years in Bakersfield, close to Shehee, where Reed worked with the county sheriff’s office, Hollimon said.
Reed is survived by his wife and four children.
• Coach Chris Petersen and the Huskies have landed another high-profile recruit. Four-star cornerback Naijiel Hale announced Saturday his intention to sign with the Huskies, the second four-star recruit to make a verbal pledge to UW for this class.
National signing day is Wednesday.
Hale, on his official visit to UW this weekend, had been committed to Arizona since July. He is the son of the late rapper Nate Dogg.
Hale, out of St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif., is listed at 5 feet 11, 170 pounds. He is UW’s 20th known recruit for this class, which is now ranked 40th by Scout and 45th by 247sports.com.
• Bellevue’s Budda Baker, a four-star safety, told The Seattle Times on Saturday that he will make his announcement during a ceremony at Bellevue High at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Baker will choose between UW and UCLA.
Staff reporter Josh Liebeskind contributed to this report.