Like many young football players, Reed’s dreams were to one day play in the NFL, his grandfather told The Associated Press.
“I told him ‘Man, you have to stay in that gym,’” Joe L. Reed said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “He would say ‘I’m good enough.’ He loved the game.”
The elder Reed said he found irony in the tragedy of his grandson’s slaying: Demarius was able to survive the dangerous streets and gangs of Chicago only to become a victim in the perceived safety of a university community.
“He was an outgoing, beautiful kid. He wasn’t associated with no gang or anything,” he said. “I would say, ‘Hey man. Don’t go outside.’ I wouldn’t let him associate with anybody over there.”
Over there, he said, is the area near Simeon on Chicago’s South Side.
Joe L. Reed said he even had reservations about his grandson moving into an off-campus apartment.
“He was on scholarship,” he said. “He could have stayed on-campus.”