Central alum Jayden Reed drafted into the NFL


Photo Credit: Michigan State University Athletics

Central alum Jayden Reed was drafted into the NFL by the Green Bay Packers out of Michigan State University on April 28.

Jake Pfeiffer, News Editor & Copy Editor

Naperville Central alum Jayden Reed was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 50th pick in the 2023 NFL draft on April 28.

Reed transferred to Central from Metea Valley as a senior in 2017, and was a wide receiver on Central’s football team.

“[He’s the] fastest human being that I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Ulreich, varsity football head coach. “It’s still is not close. He’s an incredibly dynamic athlete.”

Reed’s talents extended beyond the football field, according to Ulreich.

“When you see him, he’s got a huge smile on his face and is just a really personable, humble, awesome kid,” Ulreich said.

Reed transferred to Central in order to continue to play with his friend Payton Thorne, who also transferred from Metea and became Central’s quarterback. Reed went on to play with Thorne at Michigan State University for three years, after playing for Western Michigan University in his freshman year.

“[Reed] had somebody on the team that was really close to him,” Ulreich said. “In some really formative years of his life, the Thorne family was always really good [to him], they brought them into their home. So [Thorne] was really like a family member of his.  When Peyton came here, Jayden did.”

In his three years at Michigan State, Reed caught 147 passes for 2069 yards and 18 touchdowns, according to Sports Reference. Reed had one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown for MSU, giving him 20 total touchdowns. Reed also returned kicks and punts for the Spartans, returning 2 punts for touchdowns, averaging 22 yards per kick return and 14.1 yards per punt return.

“I think there’s a lot of what he does in the slot that carries over to what you see in the NFL,” Ulreich said. “Getting him the ball in a million different ways. I think he’s a very talented punt returner too. I mean, his first ever game for Naperville Central, he returned a kick for a touchdown. He is so dynamic. Then he is just a warm, cheerful, awesome human being to be around so [the Packers are] just getting a great kid and someone who’s worked really hard.”