As we approach mid-November more focus is being placed on candidates for the Heisman Trophy. LSU running back Leonard Fournette is still the front-runner--despite his mediocre performance in a loss to Alabama last week. Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry is also at the top of many lists after he outrushed Fournette in that same game. And Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman is putting up crazy numbers in that stupid Spread/Read Option offense that the Bears run. But there is one candidate for the "most outstanding player in college football" that is not getting nearly enough attention: Navy Quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
Navy is having a great year with an 8-1 record so far. Their only loss is to 4th ranked Notre Dame and the Midshipmen are coming off a dominating win over previously undefeated Memphis last week. Should the Middies win out, they may be heading to their first New Year's Day bowl game since Roger Staubach was quarterback. Reynolds is a four year starter and a co-captain--at a school where "captaincy" really means something.
On Saturday, Reynolds will likely break the NCAA all-time rushing touchdowns record currently held by former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. They currently share the record at 77. Reynolds actually would have the record already but on a play from the one-yard line last week in Memphis, he called an audible away from a quarterback keeper to a play that called for him to pitch it to his slotback (Navy runs the Wing-T, triple option offense--sorry about these "ancient" football terms) who walked into the endzone untouched for the game-clinching TD.
It would have been easy for Reynolds to keep the ball on that play and try to score the record setting touchdown himself--but he saw that a teammate would have an easier time scoring and he gave up the ball. This is even more impressive as Reynolds is a Tennessee native and had most of his family members at the game that day hoping to see him break the record.
Off the field, Reynolds is a 3.32 GPA student in International Relations at one of the most demanding academic institutions in the country--where you not only study and play football--but train for military action as well. And he is a kid that dreamed only of attending one of the military academies and serving his country. And by going to Navy, he is forfeiting any hope of playing in the NFL right out of college--as he is required to remain on active duty for five years after graduation.
Sure, Keenan Reynolds may not have the gaudy statistics that SEC running backs or Big 12 wide receivers may have. All of his games have not been on ESPN at prime time on Saturday nights. Mel Kiper, Jr and Todd McShay don't have him at the top of their "draft boards". But the virtues that he embodies--both on and off the field--would make him a Heisman Trophy winner of which we can all be proud.