Reyes is quick off the ball and when the 6-foot-4 290 pound linemen gets his momentum going he goes straight into the offensive lineman head first. When Reyes gets a good blow, he sometimes walks back to the defensive huddle with ringing in his ears.
"It's a lot more physical," Reyes said about playing tackle. "At first there was a lot of ringing. But, you get used to it."
It's not something entirely comfortable, but that show of brute force is exactly the kind of play on the defensive line that UConn needs. Reyes, and his fellow sophomore and former roommate Twyon Martin, are giving the Huskies exactly what they need.
Reyes and Martin surprisingly stepped into the starting lineup midway through UConn's 8-5 season a year ago and are now mainstays in the rotation. Reyes (6-foot-4 290 pounds) for Nashua, N.H. and Martin (6-foot-3 275 pounds) from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. have been linked as players since they came to Storrs. They were roommates their first year at UConn, learned their trade on the defensive line during a redshirt year and ultimately moved into the starting lineups together.
"They have been steady, but they are young," UConn coach Randy Edsall said.
Martin is entering his third training camp, and while only a sophomore, he feels like a veteran.
"I have a good grasp of everything especially with camp," Martin said. "Camp is only two weeks, but it seems like it's forever. This is what makes me feel like have been here so long. I am finally feeling comfortable in the system which is good."
Reyes comes from New Hampshire and UConn was his only Division I offer. At the time he was a fast 240 pound linebacker playing for Nashua North. Now, Reyes has bulked up 50 pounds at 290 pounds and still maintains that athletic ability and quickness.
"You look at his frame and watch move and see the body structure, you see he can put on weight," Edsall said. "With that frame and broadness of shoulders, he could handle 280 and 290. He put it on naturally. He isn't a fat kid, he could still run and he is very strong."
Reyes had 20 tackles and 1 ½ sacks last year.
Martin had to do the opposite of Reyes. The Florida product came in heavy and had to lose weight his redshirt year before he put muscle back on. Martin has similar production to Reyes with 22 tackles and 1 ½ sacks. The two are 275 and 290 on the line, but they both maintain quickness and agility. That is more important than raw size.
"For the system we play, that's a good weight for me," Martin said. "It doesn't make sense to be so heavy that they can't hold their own or get pushed off the ball. What's the point of being 320 if you are being driven over the ball?"
Martin and Reyes may be young and a bit undersized for the position, but it's safe to say no one pushes them around.
BENNETT OUT FOR SEASON
The injury bug took a major hit on the UConn offense when redshirt freshman left tackle Jimmy Bennett was lost for the season with an ACL injury to his right knee. Bennett suffered the injury during a scrimmage on Saturday. Bennett was fighting for the starting job at left tackle with senior Dan Ryan.
*The university suspended sophomore safety Aaron Bagsby and freshman defensive end Beau Brunelli indefinitely for a violation of school policy.
*Defensive back Harris Agbor will be out another 5-6 weeks with a knee injury suffered in practice last week. To help with depth with injuries and suspensions, Kijuan Dabney was moved back to safety from Husky linebacker while freshman Marcus Aiken, in camp as a wide receiver, was also moved to safety. Freshman Dave Kenney will remain at outside linebacker this season. He started camp as a safety.
* The team breaks camp on Thursday with a final scrimmage.