S Ed Reynolds down to Duke, UNC and Stanford

Woodberry Forest (Va.) High School safety Ed Reynolds has offers from six BCS schools, but has shifted his primary focus to three finalists: Stanford, Duke, and North Carolina.

Writer's note: This interview was conducted before Reynolds' most recent visit to North Carolina last weekend.

Ed Reynolds is in the process of visiting those three schools officially, and after trips to Stanford and Duke, claims to be favoring the Pac-10 school on his list.

"I think as of right now, Stanford kind of stands out for me as my top choice," Reynolds said. "But I want to make sure I make the right decision, see how everything is going and talk to my parents once more, and then around Christmastime when I go back home, make the announcement."

Reynolds' affinity for Stanford can largely be attributed to his experiences during the official visit he took to The Farm for the Notre Dame game a few weeks back.

Reynolds had already visited Stanford once over the summer for a camp, so he did have some familiarity with the school, but was able to get a better sense for the Stanford players on his official visit.

"I think just being able to sit down and have quality conversations with guys like Toby Gerhart, Andrew Luck and other guys on the team and get the players' side of the school [stood out]," Reynolds said.

After going through prototypical visit activities such as a campus tour and sitting in on team meetings, Reynolds also had the opportunity to meet a well-known Stanford professor.

"For that game, Condoleeza Rice was the honorary captain and I got to sit down and have lunch with her and talk to her about the academic side of Stanford," Reynolds said. "Not too many universities can just say we have a Secretary of State to answer some questions of yours."

With his decision possibly coming in the next few weeks, Reynolds seems to have a solid set of criteria by which to decide.

"The balance of academics and athletics, the stability of the head coach, the feeling I get when I'm on campus and with the team, if it's a group of guys I fit with, and how the school backs the football program [are my criteria]," Reynolds said. "That's what it will pretty much come down to."

One part of that statement that may concern Cardinal fans is Reynolds desire for head coaching stability. Despite rumors to the contrary, Reynolds left his Stanford visit assured that Coach Jim Harbaugh would stay in Palo Alto for the foreseeable future.

"When I was on my official, I got to talk to him about that," Reynolds said. "He kind of assured me that he'd be there for my years if I decide to go to Stanford. That was reassuring. The media kind of pumped him for Michigan, Notre Dame and all that type of stuff. After talking with him, I definitely feel more comfortable about it."

Either way, Reynolds will have significant help in making his decision. The safety's father, Ed Reynolds Sr., was an Academic All-American at the University of Virginia in the early 1980's and went on to a ten-year career in the NFL. Suffice it to say, the elder Reynolds is quite familiar with the ins and outs of the recruiting process, and he has shared some nuggets of advice with his son.

"He's just telling me to look for a steady foundation and head coaches who will be there for all the years you'll be there," Reynolds said. "My parents are big on academics and I'm big on academics, but overall my parents have pretty much put the decision in my hands. They give me their opinions, but when it comes down to it, I'm the one who's going to be the one at the university for four or five years."

Academically, Reynolds appears to be a solid bet to gain admission to Stanford, as he claims a 3.96 GPA and a three-part SAT score of around 1790. He said he was almost done applying, as he just needs to put the finishing touches on his application.

Distance also shouldn't play much of a factor in Reynolds' decision as he attends a boarding school approximately 11 hours away from home and says that "isn't really a big deal."

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