College football fans always have a tremendous amount of respect for the Navy Football program. The Midshipmen have had the most consistent success of any service academy over the past decade, and they’ve had great showings against some marquee teams in college football, including Ohio State, South Carolina and Notre Dame.
Yet, despite that success and great respect, people still don’t usually think of a Navy football player when considering candidates for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in college football.
Coming off a record-breaking sophomore campaign and with a schedule that provides him some showcase opportunities, Reynolds has a chance to put his name in the Heisman discussion if he can lead Navy to strong performances and another successful season.
In 2013, Reynolds had one of the great seasons in the history of college football. Some people will discount it and say he was a product of Navy’s triple-option system, but regardless of the system, it’s still incredible to score 31 rushing touchdowns in a season, which is exactly what Reynolds did.
Many programs have been running the triple option for years and never had a player put up the numbers of the Navy quarterback.
His 31 rushing touchdowns in a season puts him in a tie for third place on the all-time list of rushing touchdowns in a season, behind only Barry Sanders and Montee Ball. Interestingly, Sanders won the Heisman Trophy and Ball was a finalist for the award.
Still seem crazy to think that Reynolds deserves to be considered?
Not only did the 5’9”, 185-pounder from Antioch, Tenn., put up incredible numbers, he was also instrumental in guiding Navy to a 9-4 record and re-claiming the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
And unlike other players with any sort of Heisman Trophy buzz going into a season, Reynolds shouldn’t feel too much added pressure in the team’s biggest games. There’s always pressure to continue the winning streak against Army, but it’s not like anyone outside the Navy program expects the Mids to upset Ohio State or Notre Dame. Navy can play with confidence and nothing to lose while all the pressure will be on the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish.
It’s not unthinkable to envision Reynolds having a junior season in which he runs for over 1,500 yards, 30 touchdowns and throws for another 1,200 yards and ten touchdowns. If he can do that while leading Navy to a 10-win season, it will be another truly special year for the Midshipmen quarterback.
And I hope college football fans and the Heisman Trophy committee recognizes him for it.