“Why not you?” is a mindset that highlights the obstacles in one’s path, and simply overcomes them at all costs. Overcoming the odds is something that Charlotte 49ers quarterback Chris Reynolds has become accustomed to throughout his career and is paying dividends in his time in the Queen City.
Following a standout career at Davie County High, Reynolds faced adversity in taking his talent to the collegiate level. With only a preferred walk-on offer on the table, the 5’11 signal-caller understood he had a lot to prove.
“I knew right away that I had to exercise every possible way of proving myself to our coaches. Knowing that I was fifth on the depth chart and that my chances of moving up relied on scout team performance gave me all the motivation I needed,” Reynolds said. “I knew I could play, and I knew I could help our team win, so my main focus was just working as hard as I could to be on that field with my brothers.”
Following his redshirt freshman season, Reynolds emerged as QB1 after an impeccable 2018 spring campaign. Getting the starting nod is a huge deal in and of itself, but Reynolds’ performance reinforced former head coach Brad Lambert’s decision. Reynolds completed over 65% of his passes, threw for six touchdowns, and finished with a 139.4 quarterback rating in his first year at the helm.
Midway through Charlotte’s matchup with Western Kentucky in week 6, Reynolds sustained an ankle injury, sidelining him for the rest of the season. Adversity had struck again, but as always, Chris came with a response.
“I attacked recovery right away. Getting healthy and back on the field is my top priority.” Reynolds said. Team doctors expect a fully healthy return in February, and with an entirely new staff taking the reins, the quarterback position is wide open.
“I’m not someone who crumbles under pressure. When there’s an opportunity, you can expect that I will give you everything I’ve got,” Reynolds said. “Competition makes everyone involved a better player, and that’s where my ‘why not you?’ mindset turns into a ‘why not us?’.”
With a talented roster returning and a new staff calling the shots, 2019 has the potential to be a special year for the 49ers. Spring ball is just around the corner, and with Reynolds returning to good health the quarterback battle will heat up once again. Coach Healy’s offensive scheme emphasizes the run, opening up for play-action and allowing the quarterback to settle into the flow of the game. With a top-notch running back in Benny LeMay putting pressure on the front seven, Reynolds should have no problem getting his young receiving core plenty of one-on-one looks.
The potential surrounding the 49ers program has created a buzz in Charlotte, and Reynolds and his teammates are buying in. “That’s the thing about coach Healy, he is shooting for the stars, and that’s the mindset that you need to have. That’s the mindset that got me to where I am now,” said Reynolds, with a smile on his face.
With three years of eligibility remaining, the 49er faithful could be witnessing the former walk-on become a key piece in the program’s success.