Eric Reynolds, a Central Bucks South (Warrington, PA) product, isn't as highly touted as Josh Haden, who chose Boston College over Florida. But with head coach Jeff Jagodzinski holding open casting calls for someone to replace graduates Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth, Reynolds is optimistic that he can see plenty of action as a true freshman.
"I don't think I'm going to redshirt," Reynolds said. "I definitely want to compete for a starting job…I'm pretty sure the job is [potentially] open to a freshman."
The competition is thin. Sophomore Jeff Smith, a speedster who became a special teams phenom as a freshman, regrettably had to cut his playing career short because of recurring concussions. The status of A.J. Brooks, who redshirted as a sophomore under Tom O'Brien with hopes of being a starter when Callender and Whitworth left, is uncertain after the team suspended him for an on-campus altercation.
That leaves the freshmen: Reynolds, Haden, and Everett, Mass, three-star back Isaac Johnson. Another possibility is a spring experiment with a converted athlete already on the roster. With such apparent uncertainty, Reynolds is confident he can be a major player in BC's starting-halfback sweepstakes.
"Speed and athleticism, that would be my strong point," Reynolds said. "I wouldn't say I'm especially well-fit for the system, but I can bring those things to the field. [The coaches] recognized that that could be of use to them."
Reynolds isn't limiting himself to running back, though. Playing time is playing time, as far as he's concerned. It wouldn't matter if it comes on special teams. Or even on defense.
"Returning kicks, punts – I love to do that," Reynolds said. "It gives me open space on the field. Even if I have to move to defensive back, that would be fine."
Maybe Reynolds is trying to be realistic. He admits that Haden, who enrolled early and is already on campus, has an advantage as he spends the whole spring learning the offense and practicing with the team. But when he arrives in August, Reynolds knows what it will take to impress the coaching staff and compete for the job.
"I have to buckle down," Reynolds said. "I have to give 100% when I practice, when I lift, when I run drills. I have to learn the playbook. Everything."
Reynolds models his playing style after Joe McKnight, a star-caliber recruit last year who showcased his speed and versatility at USC this season as a true freshman. Reynolds said he is not a power back, but is elusive, like McKnight.
So he's not as big a name as McKnight was at this time last year. Or as Haden was in the fall, for that matter. But Reynolds knows an opportunity has presented itself. If the Eagles' starting running back spot is up for grabs, he'll be reaching for it.