His body was found Friday morning in Reed's apartment building near the campus in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Before Simeon's Friday afternoon game football game against Foreman High School, Simeon players gathered around Reed's jersey that had been hung up on a fence near the end zone. They said a prayer and a dedication to winning the game for him.
Carl Reed says he lost his best friend when his son was killed.
"It's unfortunate that something like this had to happen, I'm really hurt, but at the same time I'm appreciative," said Carl Reed, father.
Reed's grandfather says Demarius survived the streets of Chicago only to be gunned down in the perceived safety of a university community.
Demarius often stayed with his grandfather when he came back home from college. He was also close with his parents and his five brothers and sisters, as well as many at Simeon Career Academy.
"He was a helluva nice guy. He loved football and he loved his family," said Joe Reed, grandfather.
Reed's father, who also played college football, came to the stadium on Friday night to watch the Simeon players who dedicated the game to his son's memory. It has been a difficult day for the family.
"I loved him. He was my best friend and my son at the same time. It's really unfortunate what happened, I'm really at a loss for words," said Carl Reed.
His family is having a tough time understanding what happened.
They say several of his personal items were missing, leading them to suspect robbery may have been the motive.
His roommate found his body in the hallway outside his apartment on Friday morning. Those who knew him say Reed was the kind of person who had no enemies. Not only was he a captain on the football team, but he was a good student as well.
"Always came into class with a smile, and he lifted the spirits of the class as a whole," said Laurie Walker, EMU English lecturer.
"Mr. Reed has just been exemplary. He's a father figure, he's been in his children's life, it's all he talked about," said Alice Carter, family friend.
The Simeon football team had little to say as they arrive for their Friday afternoon game against Foreman. The death of former Simeon football standout, Demarius Reed, has hit most everyone here hard.
"It's going to be an emotional day for Simeon, and we just went through this last week with playing Lane Tech, so it's all about class. Football, it's a big fraternity," said Peter Grazing, football coach, Foreman High School.
Reed had started all six games at EMU this year and caught 15 passes for 185 yards and scored a touchdown.
In a written statement, EMU school officials said: "Demarius was an influential leader who thrived in the classroom and on the field. Everyone gravitated to him and often described him as the 'life of the locker room."
"I'm thinking about his family, I'm thinking especially about his younger brother, who is my son's friend. And I know his family's hurt, and we just want to send our prayers and condolences out to them," said Halethia Jones, parent, Simeon football player.
As he struggles to cope, Carl Reed says the hardest thing was having to tell Demarius' younger brother, a freshman at Simeon who followed his brother into the football program of his death.
"My youngest son is handling it the way Demarius would. My youngest son is being the bigger person, he's being positive," said Carl Reed, father.
The community is rallying around Reed's younger brother, who now plays for the Simeon football team. Police say they have made no arrests and no one is in custody.