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Izell Reese
No. 43     
Safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1974-05-07) May 7, 1974 (age 45)
Place of birth: Dothan, Alabama
Career information
College: UAB
NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 6 / Pick: 188
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
*Dallas Cowboys ( 1998 2001)
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A
Games played     93
Games started     48
Interceptions     8
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Izell Reese (born May 7, 1974 in Dothan, Alabama) is a former professional American football safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Denver Broncos. He played college football at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Early yearsEdit

Reese attended Northview High School, where he led the football team with 5 interceptions as a senior. He also lettered in basketball.

Although he came to the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an unrecruited walk-on athlete, he was named the starter at strong safety as a freshman, making 10 tackles and leading the team with 4 interceptions. The next season, he registered 70 tackles, 1 interception and posted 18 tackles—the third best single-game total in school history—against Western Kentucky University.

As a junior, he recorded 69 tackles (second on the team), 5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. In his last year, he collected 83 tackles (4 for loss) and closed out his eligibility with a school-record 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against Arkansas State University.

During his time in college, the University of Alabama at Birmingham went from NCAA Division II to I-AA and on to Division I-A. He finished second in career tackles (276), first in solo tackles (188), fourth in career interceptions (8), first in career interception return yardage (135 yards) and first with 44 games (38 starts out of 44).

Professional careerEdit

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)Edit

Reese was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round (188th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft, becoming the second UAB player ever to be selected in the draft (after Dainon Sidney).

The coaches were intrigued by his size/speed ratio but decided to keep him at safety. Although he wasn't expected to make an impact, he contributed in the "45" and nickel packages, while also emerging as the team's leader in special teams tackles with 21. He was a key player in the Cowboys leading the NFL in kickoff coverage (18.5 yards) and finishing third in punt coverage (6.2 yards).

Despite missing the final 8 games of the 1999 season with a herniated disc in his neck, he tied for second on the team with 3 interceptions, registered 28 tackles, 5 passes defensed, 6 special teams tackles and 2 quarterback pressures.

After overcoming a career-threatening neck injury in the 2000 season, he became a seven-game starter at free safety in place of an injured George Teague, finishing first on the team in special teams tackles (22), second in interceptions (2) and eighth in tackles (72).

In 2001, the team tried to convert him into a cornerback,[1] but after starting the first four games, he was replaced with Duane Hawthorne at left cornerback and was moved back to safety. He registered 37 tackles (24 solo), 3 sacks (fourth on the team), 3 passes defensed, one interception and 8 special teams tackles.

Denver BroncosEdit

On March 15, 2002, he signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos.[2] He earned the starting free safety position, finishing with 58 tackles 5 quarterback pressures, one pass defensed and 3 special teams tackles.

Buffalo BillsEdit

On March 21, 2003, he signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills.[3] He started 9 out of 13 games at free safety, before being placed on the injured reserve list on December 17.[4] He collected 33 tackles, one quarterback pressure and 6 special teams tackles.

In 2004, he was named the starter at free safety, until he was passed on the depth chart by rookie Rashad Baker in the 10th game and was declared inactive during the rest of the season. He posted 48 tackles, one interception and one quarterback pressure.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)Edit

On June 3, 2005, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to provide depth after the retirement of safety Darren Woodson. He was released on August 24.[5]

NFL statisticsEdit

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Interceptions
G GS Comb Total Ast Sack FF FR Yds Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD
1998 DAL 16 00 4 4 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 6 6 | 0 0
1999 DAL 08 04 22 17 5 0.0 0 0 0 3 28 9.3 24 0 4
2000 DAL 16 07 47 32 15 0.0 0 0 0 2 60 30 46 0 6
2001 DAL 16 04 29 27 02 3.0 3 0 0 1 42 42 42 0 3
2002 DEN 15 15 54 42 12 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
2003 BUF 13 09 34 24 10 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2011 NYJ 09 09 36 18 18 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Career 93 48 226 164 62 3.5 3 0 0 8 169 21.125 46 0 19
[6]


Personal lifeEdit

Reese retired in 2005 and is now the EVP of Next College Student Athlete and GM of the Rivals Combine Series, camps and combines for high school football players.

He is the co-founder of Rising Seniors, a program that gives top athletes in the Junior year of high school the opportunity to have a "rookie camp" experience and coaching on making the most of college opportunities and the recruiting process. The annual program ends with a "Junior Bowl" that gives college recruiters a glimpse of new talent.

ReferencesEdit

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