Introducing the 2003 Class: Gabe Reininger

Humility is not a bad attribute to have, even in the ultra competitive world of college football. Junior college transfer Gabe Reininger is a perfect example. The defensive end from Moorpark Junior College in California generally played well during spring practice, and at a higher level than other ASU newcomers. Nevertheless, Reininger doesn't confuse confidence with arrogance, as he knows and accepts his role on the team.

"We have some top of the line guys in there right now, so I wanted to make my presence felt in the spring." Says the All-Western States Conference team unanimous selection, "Those guys are returning starters (namely Shane Jones and Brian Montesanto), and I'm not ashamed to say it's their job to lose – they earned it. I just want those guys to feel that in me they have another guy that can help them out." However, despite being realistic, Reininger still aspires to crack the starting lineup. "I would love to start, but those guys have put in all the hard work last year and they deserve to start. They've been longer here than I am. I'm gonna play hard no matter if I start or not, because I want to perform at a high level and help the team. If that gets me a starting job - great. If not – so be it."

The defensive end who was on the Commission On Athletics (COA) All-American team in 2002, as well as first-team all-state received attention from the Sun Devils very early in the season. "Coach English came to watch my second game in my sophomore year. We talked briefly after the game, and I liked him. He was really down to earth. I was sad to see him leave ASU…ASU wasn't recruiting me that heavy in the beginning, but that‘s the same with every other school. They were sending me a lot of mail. I was just happy that they were interested in me." The junior mentioned that most schools in the Pac-10 and WAC were recruiting him, as well as Mississippi and Mississippi State.

Reininger's first official trip was to San Diego State, and the trip to Tempe marked his second and last official visit. A successful visit to Sun Devil land helped him quickly pull the trigger on his commitment. "When I came here it was my second trip, and I liked it so much that when they offered me, I accepted and canceled all my other trips…Schools were pursuing me, making sure that I still wanted to go to ASU. But after my visit, I just told them that this is where I wanted to be." The defensive end said that he didn't witness any negative recruiting towards ASU, and that this tactic would hardly make him change his mind. "They didn't bad mouth ASU, but just tried to highlight the positives with their schools. If they did bad mouth ASU or other schools, I would know that this is the kind of school I don't want to go to."

Fellow defensive tackle Brain Montesanto was Reininger's host on his official trip, and was another reason for his decision to spend the next couple years donning the maroon and gold. "I couldn't ask for a better host to show me around. He's actually from the area that I played junior college ball in. Because he plays the same position I do, so that helped me learn a lot about ASU." And Montesanto wasn't the only member of the team that left a lasting impression on the newcomer. "Coach Monachino is a great guy. I'm real excited to play for him. I love everything about him. I like that he's fired up all the time. He tells the defensive line to get after it every play. I know we have one of the best coaches around, and a unit that's very respected in the Pac-10… I established a strong relationship with the coaches and the players on my visit, and once that happened I knew that this is where I wanted to be."

The Las Vegas native feels uncomfortable talking about his fine skills. At Moorpark he posted 36 solos tackles, including14 tackles for losses, 7.5 quarterback sacks, one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. Nonetheless, he says that: "I need to improve on everything. I still got a ways to go to be the best player I can." One way he intends to do so is through ASU's state of the art weight room. "The Weight room is top of the line. If you want to get anything done, that's the weight room to be in. There's nothing you can't do there, especially with the strength coaches we have. They'll get you ready for anything. You'll never decline with them; you'll always go upward. When you have top of the line facilities and top of the line coaches, you'd be a fool not to take advantage of that."

Reininger is one of three junior college transfers who enrolled at school this spring. Last year's academic all-America candidate is enjoying his studies, and everything else that campus has to offer. "I'm real lucky to be here in the spring. Anyone will tell you that the campus is one of the nicest in the country. I met a lot of cool guys on the team and in the classroom. I can't complain about anything." Judging by his play this spring, suffice to say that coaches and fans have no reason to grumble about this new addition.

Recruit Profile

Name

Gabe Reininger

High School

Moorpark Junior College

Position

DT

Height

6-2

Weight

270

Birthplace

Las Vegas, NV

Nickname

Just Gabe

Favorite TV Show

SportsCenter

Favorite Movie

The Program

Favorite Singer

No one in particular. Just Rap music.

Favorite Food

Steak

Favorite Drink

Gatorade

Favorite Athlete

Ray Lewis

Favorite Pro Team

No favorite

Person you most admire

My parents. They taught me everything I know, and brought me up the best way possible. I'm always gonna appreciate that.

First Football Memory

Going undefeated in my freshman year. That was the first year I played football. We blew out our rival school in our last game.

One Thing most people don't know about me

I'm not quiet on the field, but off the field I am.

Why did you choose ASU?

The relationship with the staff and players.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

It's a long way away (smile). I just want to please myself and my parents.

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