Samson Reed and his football teammates at Kahuku High School in Hawaii don’t believe in “weak ends,” and there’s video evidence to prove it.
Reed’s father, Tanoai, tweeted a video of four Kahuku Red Raiders each pushing a pickup truck and dragging a tire for some voluntary strength training on a Saturday morning in February.
— Tanoai Reed (@Tanoai1) February 26, 2017
That was with my dad. That was Saturday workouts,” the younger Reed said. “I tried to have my D-line players come with me, and a couple O-linemen.”
Tanoai Reed isn’t the Red Raiders’ strength coach, but this is just the kind of thing he likes to see when he’s home in Hawaii, on breaks from being a Hollywood stunt double for his cousin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
So it’s safe to say Reed drew good numbers in the genetic lottery, but that combined with a tenacious offseason strength training program has molded him into a three-star defensive end in the class of 2018 with seven Division I offers and counting.
Reed recorded six sacks, a safety, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2016, according to his Hudl tape. BYU didn’t even wait till this year, giving him his first scholarship offer after his sophomore season. Washington State gave him his first power-conference offer, with more likely to come. Reed’s received interest from USC, where he took an unofficial visit in February with his dad. He plans to visit schools further east this summer, including Georgia Tech, Virginia and Vanderbilt. But he also has an offer from his home-state Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, where the elder Reed played tackle in the 1990s.
Reed grew up around football. Kahuku is a state powerhouse that won its most recent state title in 2015 and was ranked 61st in the country by MaxPreps at the end of 2016. But moreover, it’s about family. Reed lifts with his father when he’s home in Hawaii, and Tanoai’s father also played the sport. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound prospect said his favorite parts of playing football are “having family over at the games and being able to play for them, and the bond that I make with my teammates.”
Reed was recently selected to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl, the second edition of a high school all-star game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, where he will join about 75 percent of the players who have Polynesian ancestry. The elder Reed has Samoan background and his wife, Suzanne, is Hawaiian.
Reed’s father moved the family from California to his hometown of Laie, Hawaii when Samson, his only child, was 12. He described Laie as a tight-knit community where “everybody takes care of each other” and plenty of Suzanne’s family live nearby.
“I wanted to give him that gift so later on in life, 20 years from now, whenever he wants to come back, there’s always going to be the community here for him,” the elder Reed said.
Before he graduated from the University of Hawaii, the elder Reed was working a job doing set construction for the movie Waterworld that was being filmed in Hawaii. He would hang out with some of the movie’s staff from Los Angeles, which led to his debut as a stuntman in a pretty incredible way.
“They’d go out at night and get drunk, and I saved a couple of them from getting beat up by the locals,” Reed recalled. “So they were in debt to me, and they were like, ‘We’ll get you on a jet ski and put you in front of the camera for a couple days. Would you like that?'”
Reed was hired to stunt for Johnson in Johnson’s first starring role in the 2002 film The Scorpion King, before Johnson knew they were cousins. Reed said he knew through his family’s genealogy that they were related, but Johnson didn’t meet Reed until he’d been hired and they were in the makeup trailer on day one of shooting. But still, how cool is it that family history and genealogy can tell so much about a person’s distant relatives? This is probably why websites like Genealogy Bank can be so beneficial; record-keeping at its finest!
“He said ‘Where are you from?’ I said ‘Hawaii. I’m from a small town called Laie,'” Reed said. “He said, ‘Oh, my aunt and uncle are there.’ And he’s naming all these uncles off, he names my uncle and I said, ‘Wait a second, what’s his name? We have the same uncle.’ So I kind of let him figure it out.”
The younger Reed says his friends know about his father’s job, and he sounds pretty accustomed to having a dad who works in Hollywood by now.
“People always ask me what are some of the [famous] people I’ve met like, or what is it like in Hollywood,” Reed said, staying coy about details.
Reed’s father and The Rock are shooting in Atlanta for a forthcoming sci-fi movie called Rampage that’s scheduled for a 2018 release. In the same year, Reed will graduate high school and prepare for his collegiate football career. Dad said he’ll be in Atlanta through August 2017 – “so hopefully I’ll be back for the football season.”
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