Freshman is pushing for backup role in 2012
In the summer of 2008, David Martin, coach at Goodpasture Christian School in the suburbs of Nashville, Tenn., was pleasantly surprised to welcome a freshman who had the arm, the legs and -- most of all -- the leadership ability required to take over as varsity quarterback.
Four years later, the coaches at Navy are discovering the same qualities in their potential quarterback of the future, freshman Keenan Reynolds.
With experienced junior Trey Miller entrenched as the starter, Reynolds will not start from day one of his college career as he did at Goodpasture. But he is pushing sophomore John Hendrick for the backup job.
"He's a young kid, but he has some presence about him," Navy offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ivin Jasper said. "He wants to learn. He wants to be good. He wants to be the best guy out there."
Reynolds completed four of nine passes for 40 yards in Saturday's scrimmage and appeared comfortable in Navy's triple-option offense. Reynolds ran the Delaware Wing-T in high school.
"We incorporated some triple option into it. We ran the double option more often," Martin said. "A lot of our option stuff was designed for him to run it."
Reynolds comes to Annapolis straight out of high school, bypassing the Naval Academy Prep School. Martin said Reynolds' GPA exceeded 4.0 and he was a model student, athlete and leader.
"It didn't take long to realize the special qualities he had," Martin said. "It didn't take long to realize the leadership he had, the charisma he had, leading other people and making those in the huddle better."
As a freshman, Reynolds guided Goodpasture to the state AAA semifinals. In his junior year, the Cougars reached the state championship game. In his senior year, Reynolds threw for 2,095 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 605 yards and 14 scores as Goodpasture reached the second round of the state playoffs.
Many FBS schools contacted Reynolds but wanted him to play wide receiver or defensive back. Reynolds wasn't interested in a position switch, letting schools know he intended to play quarterback. Ultimately he chose Navy over Air Force and Wofford. Helping woo Reynolds to Annapolis was Navy offensive line coach Ashley Ingram.
Navy lists Reynolds at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, but Jasper said he's comparable in size to Miller (6-0, 199). Martin said Reynolds weighed in at 197 at a football camp he helped run this summer.
Seeing Reynolds again reminded Martin of the fun he had developing him. Within a few years, Reynolds was completely up to speed.
"He got to the point with our two-minute offense that we just turned him loose and let him go. Not many high school quarterbacks can do that," Martin said. "He has such a unique understanding of the game. He knows what everybody's supposed to be doing, where everybody else is supposed to be."