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York football standout Darius Reynolds has officially joined the ranks of the other Historic Triangle athletes to play Division I college football next year.
On Thursday, Reynolds formally announced his verbal commitment to play football for the University of Richmond, which competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and sporting a 3.7 GPA, Reynolds had his fair share of collegiate suitors including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale. In addition, William & Mary, James Madison University, Army, Navy, Towson, Coastal Carolina and Bucknell all tried to reel in Reynolds.
But Reynolds saw the University of Richmond as a unique combination of academics and athletics, which, along with the school’s city environment, proved to be enough to sway the Group 3A first-team All-State selection.
The University of Richmond was fortuitous in having one of their former football standout Ben Edwards, a York alumnus, close to Reynolds throughout the recruiting process. Edwards, who was promoted to the New York Giants’ active roster the same day Reynolds announced his commitment, served as York’s wide receivers coach for most of the season.
Edwards, who remains involved with Richmond athletics as a die-hard fan, obliged when Reynolds asked for a lift to watch the Spiders play Elon on Oct. 10. Reynolds also ran into Edwards at James Madison University when ESPN’s College Gameday was on campus for a highly promoted FCS showdown between the Dukes and Spiders on Oct. 24.
And despite Edwards’ presence around Reynolds, the disruptive defensive end said Edwards was non-intrusive and neutral throughout the entire recruiting process.
“He didn’t really push me any way,” Reynolds said. “He just wanted me to find out what was best for me.”
For Reynolds, what was best turned out to be the University of Richmond, which offered early playing time to the pass-rush specialist who recorded 12 sacks despite playing on the interior of the defensive line during his senior season.
At the next level, Reynolds was told he projects as a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker with a specific focus early on rushing the passer. Over time, the Richmond coaching staff hopes to see Reynolds develop into a well-rounded defensive end who can play every down.
How soon Reynolds sees the field remains to be seen given Richmond’s recent football success: the Spiders were defeated in the FCS Semifinals by North Dakota State on Dec. 18.
But with plans to double major in business and leadership at Richmond, Reynolds figures to be plenty busy before he even steps on the field — and that’s a situation he’s more than happy to be in as long as he can be part of a successful program.
“After seeing [Richmond] succeed, I just wanted to be part of that,” he said.