Now, in the Draft, he is following Strasburg, getting drafted just one year after the Nationals' newest starter.
So is it any wonder that the first call Reed fielded after getting drafted was from none other than Strasburg?
"He called me right when I got drafted," Reed said. "It meant a lot to me. I know that he's got a lot on his plate today with his start, but he was the first person to call me, right when my name was called. He just said, 'Congratulations'. It meant a lot."
Coming into this past offseason, there was a Strasburg-sized hole in San Diego State's rotation, and it was Reed who was tapped by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn to fill that hole.
Reed had been a lights-out closer for the Aztecs, with two pitches he could locate and turn to in order to get hitters out.
In his sophomore year, Reed set a new San Diego State and Mountain West Conference record with 20 saves in 25 appearances, with a 0.65 ERA to boot.
It was as a closer for the Aztecs that the 6-foot-4, 215-pound hurler realized he could potentially have a future in baseball beyond college.
"My freshman year of college was when I thought there might be a future in it, and if I kept working hard, someday [my dream of becoming a professional] would come true," he said.
Reed worked on his endurance in the offseason with the hope of becoming a full-time starter. He adjusted well, going 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA over 11 starts, coupled with two complete games.
For his part, Reed credits his time as a starter for his development as a pitcher.
"I think just more experience," Reed said of his junior year improvement. "I mean, I was just getting out there more, being out there and throwing more innings, and facing more hitters. I learned how to be out there longer."
The MLB.com scouting report states that Reed has an 89-92 mph fastball when starting, and touches 96 out of the bullpen.
He is also armed with an above-average slider and changeup.
The White Sox have not said whether they plan to develop him as a starter or as a reliever, and Reed is not about to make that decision for them.
"Honestly, I feel comfortable doing both of them," Reed said. "I closed the first few years, so I feel real comfortable there. I feel really experienced in that role. Starting this whole year was kind of different for me, but I got comfortable with it. Whatever they want me to do I'm going to do."
Reed just wrapped up his junior season with San Diego St., so it should be mentioned that he could conceivably return to college baseball, but it seems unlikely, given his excitement toward being drafted.
"Speechless," Reed said. "Still, people are asking me, and it's still so surreal. It's been a dream of mine since I was born. Baseball's the only thing I've ever played and obviously what I've been working my whole life for, and now the day it comes, it's just awesome. Indescribable feeling."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.