Practice Tour: Ed Reynolds

ORANGE, Va. --- Due to its talent and depth, Woodberry Forest is usually a two-platoon team. However, with Ed Reynolds, head coach Clint Alexander feels he needs to make an exception.

"Ed is definitely one of my "one and a half" guys," Alexander said. "He's our starting safety and splits time starting at running back with Ade Oyalowo, our only other "one and half" guy. [Ed] is special."

Whether Reynolds starts the game at running back or not, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder will be in a rotation with Oyalowo, which will give opponents two different styles to prepare for.

"[Reynolds] is a special running back," said Alexander. "You talk about thunder and lighting, Ed is our lighting. Ed is very graceful. He loves Eric Dickerson – he was a good friend of his father's. So he grew up idolizing Eric Dickerson; he runs a lot like him. He just has that speed, that burst, and great vision."

Despite all that, Reynolds' greatest value is at safety, where he was named all-state following last season.

"Defensively, we can't live without him," Alexander said. "He makes all our checks. Probably, the last five games of the year, he did all the defensive coverage calls – and that's rare for a high school guy. I'd work with him all week and by Wednesday, he'd take it over."

In addition, Reynolds will handle all of Woodberry Forest's return responsibilities. He was also named all-state as a kick returner.

With Reynolds and linebacker/defensive end Aramide Olaniyan among the many returning from an 8-1 team, expectations are high this season.

"Expectations are high, that's for sure," Alexander said. "Obviously, we have got to take it one game at a time, like everybody says. We certainly have big goals, but we have a really, really tough schedule. I think almost everybody on our schedule can beat us if we don't play well. I know it's cliché, but we have to play one game at a time."

Woodberry Forest's schedule includes reigning state champion Richmond (Va.) Collegiate, Bethesda (Md.) Landon which lost only one game last season, Fork Union (Va.) Military which boasts at least four Division I-A recruits, and Richmond (Va.) Benedictine which was No. 3 in the state last season.

Before the season kicks off on Sept. 19, and perhaps as soon as next week, Reynolds plans to make a verbal commitment. He recently narrowed his choices to three schools.

"My top three, in no particular order, is Chapel Hill, Duke, and Stanford," Reynolds said. "Those are the schools that I'm really, really looking at pretty hard. Those three I've spent a decent amount of time at… Those are the three, as of right now, that I got a feeling when I was there I could really see myself being there."

A noticeable omission is Virginia, the school his father played football at.

"What happened [with UVa] was their safety spots filled up, so they didn't want to wait for my commitment," Reynolds said.

In spite of making a verbal commitment in the next couple of weeks, Reynolds plans to take all five of his official visits.

"To be honest, [the UVa situation] didn't scare me but it was one of those things that opened my eyes," Reynolds said. "The process is so fast nowadays and people don't want to wait. I don't want spots to fill up, but I also want to take my officials."

Reynolds says Duke, UNC, NC State, Stanford, and Vanderbilt are likely to receive official visits.

(Editor's Note: Reynolds sat out practice with a minor injury on the day of Inside Carolina's visit to Woodberry Forest High School.)

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