Ken­nan Reynolds shines in re­turn to Naval Academy

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

AN­NAPO­LIS — Re­turn­ing to the place where he en­joyed a record-break­ing ca­reer that fea­tured the most rush­ing touch­downs in col­lege foot­ball his­tory, for­mer Navy stand­out Keenan Reynolds once again found the end zone.

Only this time he did it with his hands rather than his feet.

The mo­bile quar­ter­back­turned-re­ceiver hauled in a pass down the seam dur­ing one-on-one drills, fin­ish­ing the play in the blue-andyel­low check­ered end zone to cap a mem­o­rable night un­der the lights at NavyMarine Corps Me­mo­rial Sta­dium on Satur­day. It marked a per­fect way to end a train­ing camp prac­tice that also saw the for­mer mid­ship­man turn heads with a div­ing catch and later an ath­letic grab on a self-tipped pass.

“It was a great place to have one of my bet­ter prac­tices since I’ve been with the Ravens. It was only right,” said Reynolds, a sec­ondyear player, who re­turned to com­pete on his for­mer home field two sum­mers after Bal­ti­more drafted the 2015 Heis­man con­tender in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. “It was cool to make a play. I said in an­other in­ter­view that [for­mer Ravens wide re­ceiver] Steve Smith told me my rookie year ‘make a play a day and it’ll keep you around.’ I’ve car­ried that with me since he left and that’s what I strive for each day.”

Reynolds, who fin­ished his col­le­giate ca­reer with an FBS-record 88 rush­ing touch­downs as the key cog in Navy’s triple-op­tion offense, en­ters his sec­ond NFL sea­son hop­ing to con­tinue his tran­si­tion from one of the na­tion’s top quar­ter­backs to a pro­fes­sional pass catcher. He is cur­rently bat­tling for a spot on the 53-man ros­ter as both a re­ceiver and re­turner.

He spent most of last sea­son on the prac­tice squad, but was a healthy in­ac­tive in the Ravens’ sea­son fi­nale at Cincin­nati.

“What a great night. A great en­vi­ron­ment – mu­sic, a big crowd, a lot of fun. The guys re­ally en­joyed it. One thing to note was Keenan Reynolds. He had a big night,” Ravens head coach John Har­baugh said, un­prompted. “I saw his con­fi­dence shift to an­other gear here, and I can guess I can see why. He’s pretty com­fort­able.”

Reynolds’ big night came only a few hours after he taught his team­mates and coaches about one of the coun­try’s more unique foot­ball fields — lo­cated less than three miles from the United State Naval Academy near down­town An­napo­lis.

“I just kind of talked about the sta­dium. You see all the dif­fer­ent bat­tles that the United States Navy and mil­i­tary were in, what the sta­dium means, the me­mo­rial and ev­ery­thing on that line. The bat­tle arches in the end zone,” Reynolds said. “Just talk­ing to them about the his­tory and tra­di­tion of this place and the men and women that have come through this in­sti­tu­tion.”

The short trip from the locker room to the grid­iron also brought back memories.

“In the locker room, when you walk out on the field, you have that mo­ment of ‘Oh wow, I’m back,” Reynolds said. “It felt like Satur­day game day. I had to calm down warm­ing up. I didn’t want to go crazy and get gassed be­fore prac­tice even started.

“Once it got go­ing, I was just fo­cus­ing on each play as a wide re­ceiver.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GROGAN

For­mer Navy stand­out Keenan Reynolds re­turned to Navy-Marine Corps Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in An­napo­lis Satur­day to par­tic­i­pate in Bal­ti­more Ravens train­ing camp prac­tice. Reynolds set the FBS record for rush­ing touch­downs dur­ing his ca­reer with the Mid­ship­men.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.