The Virginia Tech Hokies have always been known for finding and developing plenty of defensive backs in the Frank Beamer era including some that make an immediate impact. Torrian Gray has proven his ability to take advantage of quality freshman defensive backs including Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson in 2013.
Entering the fall, the Hokies have another freshman cornerback that is certain to earn some early playing time for the Hokies.
Mook Reynolds was one of the top commits for the Hokies in their most-recent recruiting class, and enrolled early to give himself more time to adjust to the collegiate game, and push for some early playing time.
Reynolds took advantage of the opportunity he had this spring, and impressed fans and coaches alike with his play throughout scrimmages and in the Spring Game. With Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson out, Reynolds played a lot across from Chuck Clark on the first-team defense, rotating in that spot with Greg Stroman.
When the Hokies released their depth chart in the ACC media guide, Reynolds was not listed on the two-deep, but that included Clark still at cornerback. However, a healthy Brandon Facyson and the arrival of Reynolds will allow the Hokies to move Clark to free safety and let Donovan Riley stay at rover if he wins the starting job.
Mook Reynolds also showed that he has the talent to move ahead of Stroman, and be the nickel cornerback for the Hokies. Reynolds is also pushing Stroman to be the punt returner though Stroman should be able to keep that job ahead of Reynolds.
However, Reynolds has proven that he has the speed and man coverage skills to compete at a high level whether that be in nickel or dime packages. With a whole spring under his belt, Reynolds will have the necessary comfort level in Bud Foster’s scheme to make an even stronger push to gain more playing time.
Of course, Reynolds’s inexperience could mean that he doesn’t play too much against Ohio State though the Hokies have shown that they know how to prepare young cornerbacks for elite, early opponents. The Buckeyes also do not return top receiver Devin Smith and rumors suggest they may have a couple other receivers suspended for the game.
With the Hokies sometimes starting a 4-2-5 defense, Mook Reynolds might end up starting some games as a third cornerback if he can beat out Greg Stroman for the nickel cornerback spot. Reynolds winning the nickel cornerback job would also open the door for him to start if Kendall Fuller or Brandon Facyson got injured.
The one thing that could hurt Reynolds’s playing time is if Donovan Riley fails to win the starting rover job and moves back to cornerback. In that scenario, Riley would almost certainly become the nickel cornerback with Reynolds and Stroman battling for playing time behind him.
However, Riley seems to be the favorite to be the starting rover while Chuck Clark will most likely make a move to free safety. Mook Reynolds is ready to take advantage of the door that he has helped open to earn some significant playing time as one of the two backup cornerbacks for the Hokies this fall.