North Augusta quarterback Trib Reece finished last season leading area quarterbacks in most major stats. But the rising junior isn’t satisfied with that success.

He has spent much of the offseason and summer working on his game to further cement himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the area. The work, combined with last season’s production, lands him at No. 3 on the Aiken Standard’s list of Players to Watch in 2013.

Reece listed his arm strength and ability to read defenses as some of the qualities that make him a good passer. Despite possessing two key attributes of good quarterback play, Reece can still be found in the weight room and studying this summer.

“I’ve been working all summer on my mechanics and reads trying to get even better,” Reece said. “I’ve participated in a bunch of workouts and I’ve been working with the 7-on-7 team. … So I feel pretty good.”

North Augusta head coach Dan Pippin echoed the sentiments of his quarterback. He said the key to Reece’s success is pretty simple.

“He makes good reads because he watches so much film,” Pippin said. “He’s a pretty analytical guy and does a great job with the quarterback coaches studying.”

Reece added that it’s much harder than it looks to be a good quarterback. That’s why he’s been working so hard. However, his stats would suggest that he made it seam easy at times.

Any improvement will make the 6-foot-3 quarterback an even bigger challenge for opposing defenses. Last season Reece passed for 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns. Not to mention, he completed 54.4 percent of his passes, the third highest percentage among the top 10 passers in the area.

Reece’s performance stands out even more considering he didn’t take over as the starting quarterback until halfway through the season. He started the 2012 campaign as the understudy to Cody Turner, sharing snaps with the now departed senior before he suffered a leg injury.

Once he took over, Reece never surrendered the job.

He credited some of his ability to the fact that he’s a dual sport athlete. He’s also a member of the Yellow Jackets’ baseball team.

“I’m always throwing between baseball and football, Reece said.

“My arm strength comes from the work I put in for both sports. The reads come from being around the program for a while.”

Pippin’s among those thrilled with the prospects for the Yellow Jackets’ season. In addition to Reece, North Augusta will return many other major contributors on offense to help along the way.

“Having his receivers and offensive line back is going to be huge, and we have a couple of good options at running back to help open up the passing game and take some pressure off of him,” Pippin said. “I’m very excited about Trib this season.

Reece sees the season as a way to not only increase the Yellow Jackets’ success, but also he wants to grab the attention of some colleges at the same time. He said there hasn’t been much in the way of recruiting, except for the occasional letter and a few invites to combines and camps. But his plan is to prove himself this season, and he wants to do it against some of the other top teams in the area.

He expressed a desire to do well in all of the games this year but said he’s “definitely looking forward to (Strom) Thurmond.” Reece’s lofty goals don’t stop at the week five battle with the Rebels, the top-ranked team in the Aiken Standard Power Poll all of 2012.

“We want to win a region championship and hopefully, possibly take state,” he said.

Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.

Series glance

This story is the eighth in a series highlighting the top 10 Players to Watch in the Aiken area for the rapidly approaching high school football season. The list will be revealed in descending order on a daily basis, with the No. 1 player to watch to be revealed on Sunday.

• July 12 – No. 10 Reggie Preston, RS-M

• July 13 – No. 9 Jaylen Lawrence, SB

• July 14 – No. 8 RJ Tyler, W-S

• July 15 – No. 7 Taylor Hearn, W-E

• July 16 – No. 6 Rasool Clemmons, SA

• July 17 – No. 5 Nakeem Spann, AIK

• July 18 – No. 4 Daniel Carr, MV

• Today – No. 3 Trib Reece, NA

• Saturday – No. 2

• Sunday – No. 1

The order was determined by Aiken Standard sports editor Noah Feit, staff writers Jeremy Timmerman and Eric Russell, North Augusta Star news editor Scott Rodgers, Aiken Standard intern Kyle Dawson, as well as ASTV broadcasters Ed Girardeau and Ken Brace.