The question often comes up that asks, Who are the best football players to ever wear the purple and gold at Trousdale County High School?

That list is likely incomplete if it doesn’t include Reggie Harper.

“I remember the first time I saw him in the gym, he was a very impressive athlete as an eighth-grader,” former Trousdale County football coach Kenny Martin said. “Then, two years later, I had the opportunity to coach him for three years in high school, and he impressed me every day with his outstanding athletic ability.”

Harper helped lead the Yellow Jackets to three consecutive runner-up finishes in Class AA in 1973, 1974 and 1975. He was a three-time Associated Press and United Press International all-state selection.

During his senior year, he had 17 catches for 536 yards and nine touchdowns, in addition to two punt returns for scores, and he was also a starter at safety. He also played in the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association East-West All-Star Game.

Harper also played basketball, where he was a starter on the high-school team as an eighth-grader and helped lead the Jackets to a school record 29-3 season and a state-tournament appearance in 1974 as a freshman.

He was a two-time Associated Press All-State honoree and was offered a scholarship by the University of Louisville, which won the national championship in 1980.

Harper went on to play football at the University of Tennessee, where he set two school records for tight ends as he recorded 98 catches for 1,141 yards. Both of those career marks still stand today

The 6-foot-3, 227-pound athlete was a freshman Sporting News Freshman All-American selection in 1977 and an Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference honoree as a junior.

Harper played for legendary Volunteers’ coach Johnny Majors. As a senior, he played in the Hula Bowl and won the Mickey O’Brien Award in 1980 for the player who overcame physical obstacles during his career to make a valuable contribution to the team.

Harper passed away on Aug. 19, 2012, at the age of 53.

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