Josh Reynolds Q&A: Inside his journey from JUCO to Texas A&M and the NFL draft
- Josh Reynolds nearly played for Oregon State, until his offer was pulled. No matter for the talented receiver, who has been flying under the radar this NFL draft season.
Former Texas A&M receiver Josh Reynolds tallied 30 receiving touchdowns for the Aggies in three seasons despite only having as much as a partial track scholarship from a D1 school coming out of high school. He’s a guy who, for the most part, has flown under the radar this draft season (he’s visited with the Steelers and Rams).
I spoke with him by phone this week to figure out why that is, along with his journey from junior college to the league, some of his best pre-draft stories and how he plans to add to his lanky frame in the NFL.
Jonathan Jones: Let’s start with the obvious. How did you not get a D1 scholarship offer to play football?
Josh Reynolds: I mean, I don’t really know. I’ve been asking myself the same thing. I took it for what it was. It just gave me more confidence to be able to go out and want to achieve more things or go bigger than what people were telling me that I could go.
JJ: I’ve read that you were close to going to Oregon State and then they ran out of scholarships. How’d that go?
JR: I came back from an official visit [with the team], and then all of a sudden I stopped hearing from them. I’m trying to text the recruiter that’s been recruiting me the whole time, and I haven’t heard anything from him for about three or four weeks. And then, all of a sudden I’m at school and the recruiter takes a visit to the school (about a month before signing day) and then tells me pretty much we’re pulling your scholarship. They never told me why and ’til this day I still don’t really know why they pulled it.
JJ: So what were your options?
JR: I was running track at that time, getting ready to start district and then regionals. And once that all ended up happening, my mom knew and some people on the distract track staff knew, and they told the Texas A&M track coach. I ended up getting a partial scholarship from him.
I’m stuck deciding between going to JUCO for basketball, JUCO for football or Texas A&M to run track and try to walk on to the football team. I weighed my options and figured I didn’t have enough basketball film to go to JUCO for basketball. Then I started thinking about if I did do track, then it’d definitely be hard for me to balance out both track and football responsibilities. It left me with pretty much one option and that was JUCO [for football].
JJ: So you go to Tyler Junior College to play football. I imagine your goal was to get out of there as fast as you could, right? What’d you learn there?
JR: Oh, of course. It was different. Coming out of high school you expect to go D1 and it being different from high school, but honestly it wasn’t too much different except for the freedom. It definitely taught me a lot of things like responsibility and doing things by myself.
JJ: You improved each year at Texas A&M (52 catches for 842 yards your sophomore year, 51 catches for 907 yards your junior year and 61 catches for 1,039 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior). Why do you feel there isn’t as much as noise around you this draft season as a guy with your stats probably should have?
JR: I think it’s more of the exposure. I didn’t get much exposure at A&M—as much as I probably should have. I pretty much took the path where I’m trying to get the exposure myself with the Senior Bowl and combine and all that. It’s helped me out since, pretty much after the season. My name has been a little more talked about since then.
JJ: Your brother Moses plays on A&M as a receiver, and you played with him for a season. Did I read correctly that he’s a little better with money than you?
JR: [Laughs] Yeah. Well, he used to be. I got much better with money now. I got to.
JJ: So how did you get better with managing money?
JR: I wouldn’t say maturity level rose up a little more, but I don’t have as many things as I want to buy now. I kind of just relaxed with it and started learning how to save a little and budget.
JJ: Were you out buying Jordans or Beats or anything else that you had your eye on that people think college athletes buy all the time?
JR: Yeah, pretty much. If I had the money I was going to buy it.
JJ: How’s this pre-draft process been? A favorite question folks like me ask is if you had any weird combine questions. Did you?
JR: I had something weird at the combine. I ended up having a staring contest with one of the coaches. That was probably about the weirdest thing. It was different. He was like, ‘I’m going to have you play a game. It’s kind of like a staring contest but I’m going to time you see how long you can keep your eyes open.’ So I’m sitting there trying to keep my eyes open for as long as I can, crying and all that stuff because my eyes keep watering. That was probably the weirdest thing.
JJ: How long would you say you kept eye contact?
JR: I think the longest was like 45 seconds.
JJ: Did you beat the coach or did he give up and want you to keep staring?
JR: He never really started. It was just kind of a test for me.
JJ: So at the combine you weighed in at the combine at 194 pounds. You’re 6' 3". How much weight can you add or what do you think you need to get up to?
JR: I’m trying to get up to about 205 pounds ... right now it’s been kind of tough for me to gain weight because my metabolism is so fast. As the years go on and I get a little older and my metabolism slows down it’s going to be easier for me to put on weight. As of right now, I’ve just got to eat, eat, eat and keep up with the fast metabolism so I can pack on this weight and do it in a good way.
JJ: You’re telling me. When I was your age I was 6' 3" and about 194 as well, and I don’t think I’m getting back down to 194. So how much are you eating a day and what are you eating right now?
JR: All I can. I try to keep it healthy but it’s kind of hard. I can’t really cook too well. I try to eat as healthy as I can. Usually some protein, some meats. I can grill here and there. A lot of carbs, some rice. Pretty much all that. I eat about four times a day.
JJ: Sounds like you need a big Chipotle bowl every day.
JR: I start my day off with that!
JJ: OK, tell me what your Chipotle bowl is. Go down the line and tell me how you order it.
JR: Alright I’m getting brown rice, black beans, steak and chicken, lettuce, cheese, guac and sour cream.
JJ: Man, that’s coming out to like a $12 or $13 bowl right there. And hopefully they added in all those toppings so then they forget you got steak and chicken, and you can get out of there only being charged with one meat.
JR: Sometimes they do, but most of the time they’re on it.
JJ: Hey, I know the tricks, too. So our draft analyst, Chris Burke, has you going in the late third round. Most projections seem to have you around there. What are you hearing from NFL folks or scouts or your agent?
JR: I’ve been hearing pretty much the same thing. I haven’t heard from teams because honestly anything could happen with the team doing it. It can happen to where the guys they want get taken off their board all in the first round and I end up in the second. It could go either way. I don’t dwell on all the stuff I hear too much. It doesn’t matter what round I go in, as long as they give me a shot.
JJ: Plenty of guys have gone the junior college route after not getting offers. Aaron Rodgers and Jason Pierre-Paul are two prime, current examples. Can you draw inspiration from those guys?
JR: Of course. God had his plan for me and I ended up at the right spot. And I’m going to end up at the right spot at this next level, too. I’m going to take my blessings and just work my tail off to earn a spot.