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Does Navy QB Keenan Reynolds Have A Real Shot At The NFL?
Thursday’s NFL draft will have several college football players hoping they get a phone call from one of 32 professional teams. The opportunity to play professional football is a lifetime dream for most college players, but many of them will likely not be one of 253 draftees selected. For those not drafted, their future hinges on obtaining a roster spot through free agency or the more likely scenario: trying to figure out what they are going to do with rest of their lives beyond football.
Not so for the U.S. Naval Academy’s heralded quarterback Keenan Reynolds. As a four-year starter and graduating senior, Reynolds already has a job serving the Navy for the next five years as an information warfare officer. It’s part of the commitment he signed up for when he came back for his junior year at Navy.
The Midshipmen call the first day back of your junior year “2 for 7” night. This is because Mids’ pledge the next seven years of their lives away when they make the commitment to stay at the academy to finish out their final two years of school in return for a top-tier education. The payback, once graduated, is a minimum five years of active-duty service in the Navy or Marine Corps.
Back in February when Reynolds did not receive an invite to the NFL scouting combine and his chances of being drafted appeared to have dimmed, he told USA Today that a career as a professional football player was second tier to his commitment to the Navy.
"Service is my priority," said Reynolds. "Service is why I came to the Naval Academy."
Doesn’t that statement make you want to root for the kid just a little bit more to get drafted?
Fast forward to April and the chances of Reynolds being drafted are starting to look fairly promising. Reynolds has drawn pre-draft interest from teams such as the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and another likely source: Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
Belichick has strong ties to the U.S. Naval Academy. His father Steve was a long time scout and coach for the Naval Academy back in the 1950s and 60s. Across Belichick’s tenure at New England, four Midshipmen have played at some level for the Patriots, most recently the team’s current long snapper, Ensign Joe Cardona.
Cardona was drafted last year in the fifth round and was able to play the entire year, despite the lack of a clear and concise Department of Defense policy on when service academy graduates can play professional sports. Fortunately for Cardona, he was able to perform daily duties at the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island, while also practicing for the Patriots during the week and playing for them on Sundays.
The Patriots have seven picks in the final two rounds, which is where Reynolds is currently predicted to go, although some Patriot pundits speculate that Reynolds could go as high as the third round if the Patriots draft him. Reynolds was put through a private workout with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels earlier this month and Belichick also attended to get a closer look.
Reynolds will likely not be playing his college position at the next level because he doesn’t fit the prototypical mold of an NFL quarterback. Navy’s signature triple option is not replicated in the NFL and Reynolds throwing statistics do not meet the standards pro scouts are looking for. However, Reynolds has characteristics that make him a likely candidate for running back, slot receiver, and punt returner. And the Patriots have a history of taking former college quarterbacks and turning them into productive offensive players: Julian Edelman played quarterback at Kent State University,
Most importantly, Belichick knows the character and determination Midshipmen football players have after going through a rigorous four-year program in Annapolis. Many times in sports, determination and the will to win trump outstanding athleticism.
Let’s hope Reynolds receives a phone call later this week to prove that theory on Sundays.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.