There is an air of humility and admiration in the voice of offensive lineman Matt Reynolds as he expresses his appreciation for BYU and the chance to live his dream, which came a step closer to fruition with the recently concluded NFL Combine.
Reynolds was one of the top linemen in the nation during his college career, at one time ranked the 24th-best college player in the country, according to Rivals.com. Reynolds attributes most of his success to his family and the many dedicated staff of BYU football.
“My family was really supportive of everything,” Reynolds said. ”They definitely made sure I knew what to expect and how to be successful, always trying to make sure I was in a position to where I could succeed.”
Reynolds’ father, Lance Reynolds, has been an assistant coach for BYU football for more than 30 years, and has been a source of motivation for Matt throughout his life.
“It’s been great being able to have someone else to go to, and lean on,” Matt Reynolds said. “To be able to see a different perspective really helped me out, and helped me form who I was going to become as a player. He [Lance Reynolds] played in the NFL, and I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
One of Reynolds’ greatest moments at BYU came during the final game of his senior season.
“I would have to say it was my last game against Tulsa,” Reynolds said. “I had my helmet knocked off, and I was able to make a block for Riley [Nelson] that led to a touchdown. It is something that I am really proud of.”
When trying to reflect on what he is most proud of, he admitted it was probably starting all 52 games of his collegiate career. Reynolds shares this title with only one other player, Jan Jorgensen, a defensive lineman who played from 2005-09.
Reynolds moved to California in January to train for the NFL combine. While there, he was able to work out with some other superior athletes.
“In my months of preparation, I was able to train with guys like Andrew Luck, Chris Polk and LaMichael James,” Reynolds said. “That was one of the more fun things about my whole experience, getting to know other guys from a bunch of different schools, all trying to get to the next level.”
Reynolds seemed surprisingly calm as he discussed his feelings the night before the combine.
“Mostly I just reflected on my career,” Reynolds said. “Thinking about the road I took to get there, and how it’s been my dream to make it to the NFL combine. I did a lot of reflecting and wondering about what is to come.”
The NFL combine is no vacation for most players. Reynolds’ group was up at 5 a.m. getting ready for the day. Anything from strength training to doctor physicals happen in the morning, with the big events starting in the early afternoon. Reynolds’ group took to the bench presses at 2 p.m. He was able to get in 25 reps with an overall grade at the combine of a 64.
“The atmosphere in the actual combine is pretty friendly,” Reynolds said. “Even though we are technically competing against each other, we’re really competing against ourselves, trying to perform the best we can.”
Every step of the way, Reynolds is making decisions that not only affect him, but also his family. Reynolds has been married since his sophomore year at BYU, and looks to his wife as a support system to their success. He describes their family dynamic as more of a group effort than anything else.
Reynolds’ wife, Brianna, has been with Matt every step of the way. She has learned by now to expect the unexpected.
“It has been a long time coming working toward the NFL, it has always been our goal,” she said. “Now that we are here, it’s kind of crazy and exciting. We could be moving anywhere in the country, and there really is no way to prepare for it.”
She knows the road to the NFL will be stressful, especially when it comes to moving to new places.
“Being born and raised in Utah and coming out to California has been pretty different for us,” Brianna Reynolds said. “It has been an eye-opening experience for me. We know we just have to make sure we stay true to our values and have a good relationship with each other.”
The Reynolds’ next step will be the NFL draft, which begins April 26.