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Keenan Reynolds' Transition to Running Back Seems to be Going Well

Navy QB Keenan Reynolds is spending the week at the East-West Shrine Game looking to prove to scouts that he can make the transition from quarterback to running back if necessary. So far, so good.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

When the East-West Shrine Game rosters came out last month, Keenan Reynolds didn't find his name in its normal spot. Instead of participating as a quarterback, the Shrine Game had chosen him to play as a running back, a position he is not accustomed to, but one in which he is willing to move to if it means a shot at the NFL.

Reynolds, the fifth place finisher in this year's Heisman Trophy voting, has spent the last four years guiding Navy's triple option offense at the quarterback position.  For some, his transition to running back is intriguing because they believe he comes with the "system" label attached to him.

I'm here to tell you, and more importantly he will get his chance to show you, that there is much more to his game than just being the best option quarterback in college football history.

I think it's pretty fair to say you don't become the FBS all-time leader in rushing yards by a QB and rushing touchdowns scored at any position without the ability to flash some skills running the football, regardless of what system you played in.

And this is precisely why NFL scouts and pundits seem to be so intrigued by Reynolds' ability to make this transition this week and in the coming months.

Chad Reuter over at said before the week started that Reynolds was the most intriguing prospect at this year's Shrine Game.

Several NFL fan sites and even some official team sites have Reynolds listed in their top players to watch this week.

Some want to make the comparison to former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who Reynolds passed in all-time rushing yards for a QB during the Military Bowl last month against Pitt. While Reynolds may not have the speed of Robinson, who has settled in as an "offensive weapon" with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he has the quickness, elusiveness, vision, and toughness to make up for it.

Some scouts also think he would fall more in line with Julian Edelman, the former quarterback at Kent State who is now a premier slot receiver for the New England Patriots.

So far, by all accounts, the transition has gone smoothly up to this point.  Dane Brugler at CBS Sports noted Monday that Reynolds looks like a natural at running back. One of the biggest question marks scouts want answered is his ability to catch balls out of the backfield, and in three days of practice, it appears Reynolds has not disappointed.

East coach Charlie Weis has also been working Reynolds in some taking snaps out of the shotgun in a package designed to showcase his abilities to pro scouts.  It appears this will probably find its way into the gameplan for Saturday afternoon, as Weis was overheard telling Reynolds the following at practice:

As Reynolds begins the process of preparing for the NFL Draft while also trying to change positions, something tells me he will continue to remove the "system" label from people's minds as he showcases his talents for scouts and fans alike.

Whether that means playing at running back, running the zone read, playing in the slot, or all of the above is yet to be determined.

If the first three days of practice at the Shrine Game are any indication though, so far so good.