Navy QB Keenan Reynolds balances football, intense course load

Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 17:29:11-05

Yes, there are the obvious short-term goals for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, and that includes beating Army for the fourth time and extending the Midshipmen’s win streak against the Black Knights to 14 in a row.

And yes, there are the milestones. Reynolds set the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 83 career rushing touchdowns earlier this season. If he gets two more against Army, he’ll be the sole overall NCAA Division I record holder.

However, football is only part of the equation for Reynolds, who is majoring in international relations. Everyone that graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy is obligated to serve five years in the Navy or Marine Corps. Sure, Reynolds could receive a special waiver if the NFL is in his future. But if it isn’t, Reynolds seems pretty happy about his postgraduate plans, tweeting on November 19, “Got my first choice, Information Warfare!”

Reynolds tells CNN’s Coy Wire that he was used to a tough, crazy course load as far back as his freshman year, but he had a lighter class schedule this semester. That being said, he still took six –yes, six — classes: Here is the list:

Sports economics

Politics of irregular warfare

Financial analysis

National security decision-making in the cyber age

Political philosophy

Tennis (for his physical education requirement; Reynolds says he got an A)

Try handling all of that while mastering the triple-option offense, setting school and national records and leading the No. 21 team in the nation.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to manage my time from an academic standpoint,” Reynolds says. “I know when I need to start stuff depending on how hard it is, what it is. I know myself, how I work, how my pace of work is. And so I think that combined with just being here and having mentors — as an underclassman people showing you the ropes, teaching you how things work — it kind of gives you a basis and a foundation to move forward and be successful when it comes to time management and balancing all the different things the Naval Academy demands of you.”

But back to those records for a minute. If Reynolds gets two more rushing touchdowns on Saturday, he’ll have the most all time in NCAA Division I, which would get him past running backs Adrian Peterson (the Peterson who went to Georgia Southern from 1998-2001) and Terrance West (Towson, 2011-2013), who both finished their collegiate careers with 84. Reynolds also became Navy’s all-time leading rusher with 4,279 yards and was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,093 yards and 19 touchdowns and passing for 964 yards and six touchdowns.

In light of these eye-popping numbers and Navy’s success, many believe Reynolds was snubbed in not being chosen a finalist for this year’s Heisman Trophy. He finished first in the fan vote. Just three finalists were invited this year: Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Reynolds says he has been humbled by all of the support fans have given him in the last couple of weeks.

“It’s definitely a blessing to be in consideration, to finish where my name was kind of in consideration for a potential finalist,” Reynolds says. “Obviously, I would have loved to go on to New York, but it didn’t work out that way. The fans were overly supportive and I’m truly thankful for that.”

Flying to New York by helicopter immediately after the Army game for the Heisman ceremony would have a great cap to his college football career. But Reynolds understands the bigger picture, as acts of terror like the San Bernardino shooting and the Paris attacks put Reynolds’ long term outlook in perspective.

“It definitely kind of reminds you of why you’re really here,” Reynolds said. “The bigger commitment that you’ve made to serve your country and the evil that we’re out to protect [against], so I think it’s kind of a centering thing. It’s very unfortunate that these events happen and happen so often, but, at the same time, we’re grooming ourselves, we’re being trained to go out and be leaders of a military that protects our nation in those types of incidents.”