When people look at candidates for the Heisman Trophy, they only look at who the best players in college football are. However, that is not what the Heisman stands for. The mission statement of the Heisman Trust is for the Heisman to be awarded to “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.” During this Heisman season, there is one player that stands out and showcases all of what the Heisman Trophy looks for.
“Excellence with integrity” might not have been the case back when the 2013 Heisman winner was selected, but in 2015, there is one candidate who is a living embodiment of this mission. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds is more than just a football player. Reynolds has committed his future to serving our country, a task that few set out to do. He brings respect to college football in an era where many players find themselves in the media for all of the wrong reasons.
Reynolds also happens to be pretty good at football. Reynolds is a dual-threat quarterback, built with the arm of a quarterback and the legs of a running back. Whenever a receiver is not open downfield, Reynolds is comfortable scrambling out of the pocket and running down the sidelines for positive yards. This season, Reynolds has passed for 652 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per attempt, and five passing touchdowns. He also has 1,016 rushing yards, averaging 5.1 yards per rush, and 18 rushing touchdowns. Navy still has two more regular season games left so those numbers will increase by the time of Heisman voting.
This is not the first season Reynolds has stood out as a dual-threat quarterback season. During his sophomore year, Reynolds broke out onto the scene with eight passing touchdowns and thirty one rushing touchdowns, tied for third most in a single season. During his career, Reynolds has already totaled 82 rushing touchdowns, the most in NCAA history.
Reynolds is one of the few quarterbacks who is more than a quarterback. He can pass it to move the ball down the field, but also pick up yards on the ground to keep drives moving. This season, he has been able to showcase it on a national level, playing in the American Athletic Conference that currently has three ranked teams. Reynolds has led Navy to a 9-1 record so far, a ranking of sixteenth in the AP Top 25, a chance at a conference championship, and a projected New Year’s Six Bowl.
With all of Reynolds accomplishments on the field, a look at his commitment off the field needs to be highlighted. Reynolds was deemed one of the smartest NCAA athletes in an article from NFL.com. He posts the grades in the classroom, and also focuses on his goals for after college. Reynolds is set to serve his country following graduation in the Navy and risk his life to protect ours. He has accomplished all of this while being one of the top players in college football.
Keenan Reynolds is what the Heisman Trophy seeks. He plays football at a top level, stays committed in the classroom with a rigorous course load, focuses on his goals outside of school, and, most importantly, shows “excellence with integrity”.