Most fans of college football have no idea who is their team’s long snapper. That is, until he messes up.
Former Alcoa center Colton Reid is doing his best to maintain an inconspicuous relationship with fans of U.S. Air Force Academy football.
“You have a ton a pressure but you can’t let it get to you,” Reid said. “Snapping can completely change a game; you can win or lose a game because of one snap. This year against Navy, they were full out coming after it when we were up by six and I was thinking, ‘Dang, if I have a bad snap I could lose the game, the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and change the season all on this snap.’”
Air Force prevailed, 14-6, quarterback Tim Jefferson taking a knee on the final play as the Falcons snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Midshipmen. With a 42-22 defeat of Army a month later, the Falcons also ensured the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy would winter in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the first time in seven seasons.
Reid, a junior, played three years at Alcoa before moving to East Paulding High school in Dallas, Ga., with his father, John Reid, who’d coached the Tornadoes to two state championships in 2004 and 2005.
Though his time with Tornadoes was cut short, Reid said he still feels a special connection to the Alcoa program.
“The back-to-back state championships were awesome, and we got to begin to rebuild that program . . . and now it’s a dynasty there,” he said. “It makes you proud to see them win even though you’re 2,000 miles away. It still puts a smile on your face, and it’s something you brag to your friends about.”
Reid went to the Air Force Academy as an offensive lineman but a knee injury his freshman year hindered his ability pull around the end or occupy second level defenders. Those things are especially valuable in the triple option offense coach Troy Calhoun runs at the academy. It forced Reid to find a new role. Fortunately, he had learned the craft of long snapping from his father while at Alcoa.
Reid had the option to attend Football Championship Subdivision powers Valdosta State and Appalachian State coming out of high school but valued the type of education he could receive in the Air Force. He said he was honored to have opportunity to serve his country.
“I didn’t want the normal college life drinking beer and partying, and the opportunities and education here are excellent.” he said, “I’ve always been very patriotic, and here I have the opportunity to serve my country.”
Upon graduating from the academy, Reid said he will enter the fields of either acquisitions or contracting in the Air Force.
“That’s dealing with money,” he said. “When you get out, they’ll put you in charge of $15 million to buy supplies for the Air Force in a month’s time. It’s a big responsibility, and you have a lot of people trusting you. Not everybody gets $15 million dollars of the government’s money when they graduate. It’s a pretty big job.”
Reid said he could perform those duties domestically or internationally and plans on earning his masters degree in finance over the next two years through the Air Force.