I spoke with Keenan Reynolds before the 2014 for an Athlon Sports profile I was writing, when the name Ricky Dobbs came up.
Dobbs’ tenure at Navy, which ended just two years before Reynolds arrived in Annapolis, was historic. Dobbs set records and generated national buzz, even some Heisman talk.
Reynolds said in that June 2014 interview he admired Dobbs, but hoped to blaze his own trail at Navy. Mission accomplished.
The best Navy quarterback since 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach ended his career Monday by leading the Mids in passing, rushing and receiving yards en route to a 44-28,Military Bowl defeat of Pitt.
He scored four total touchdowns, including three on the run to surpass Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon as college football’s all-time leader in touchdowns from scrimmage. Reynolds also set the NCAA’s new record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
Another record! Keenan Reynolds becomes all-time Rush + Rec TD career leader in Major College History (88). pic.twitter.com/nEEYhHDkRI
— SportsCenter(@SportsCenter) December 28, 2015
Navy's Keenan Reynolds sets most career Rush yds by a QB with 4,518 Yds passing Pat White and Denard Robinson. pic.twitter.com/FWLHXt8myM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 28, 2015
All that individual history-making had residual effect for Navy. The Mids’ 11th win guarantees they’ll retain their place in the Top 25 when the final Associated Press poll is released next month.
Those 11 wins also set a single-season Navy record.
Maybe Reynolds was a product of a system, as some detractors posited. Maybe his was a neat little story not on par with college football’s best, which was one argument made against the quarterback’s national award portfolio.
If so, he made the system look better than just about anyone for more than a generation, and his neat little story rewrote record books.
Reynolds’ performance Monday could not have provided a better closing argument for his worthiness of Heisman consideration.
While a place in New York might not have been in the cards, he’s one of the easiest calls for the College Football Hall of Fame when his time comes — which it won’t. Much like his Heisman candidacy, preconceptions and rules mean he can’t be voted in, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone who saw him knows, his career was that good, and the lasting impression Monday sends him off with could not be any more perfect.
Keenan Reynolds didn’t just make his own mark as Navy’s quarterback. His is the name that will come up in conversation about quarterback greatness, setting a new standard for future dreamers to aspire.