The 2017 Tech Lunch Pail top 10 Hokies countdown starts today at #10 with Mook Reynolds.
In his second year as a starter, Mook Reynolds had another strong season with a career high 70 tackles in 2 fewer games plus 9 tackles for loss, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 4 QB hurries. Reynolds had a versatile role at the nickelback while also being used at free safety after Terrell Edmunds went down with a season-ending injury.
Reynolds did not receive any All-ACC recognition, but there was a case to be made that he was snubbed from this recognition.
Before Mook Reynolds, it appeared that Bud Foster was going to phase out the whip linebacker spot to shift to more of a 4-2-5 defense. While the whip linebacker spot has adapted some to the modern game, Reynolds has also redefined that role some as well.
A big reason for Reynolds’s success is the fact that he can competently drop into man coverage, and defend the run and blitz at a high level like a linebacker. At times, Bud Foster was able to run more of a 4-2-5 without having to make a personnel change, making his defense more unpredictable because of Reynolds’s versatility. Reynolds might not have the traditional size of a linebacker, but he was consistently able to use his speed to get into the backfield and shut down opposing RBs.
While Reynolds has been solid in man coverage, his development as a run defender may be the most impressive things with him. With 18.5 tackles for loss over the past two years, Reynolds has transitioned well from being a pure cornerback to being a linebacker who is an asset as a run defender.
Looking ahead to 2018, Reynolds will be one of the veterans in a linebacking corps that is losing Andrew Motuapuaka and possibly Tremaine Edmunds depending on his NFL Draft decision. Reynolds should also be able to stay at whip linebacker even if Terrell Edmunds leaves for the NFL with a healthy Divine Deablo ready to take over at FS if Edmunds leaves early.
Stay up with our top 10 Hokies countdown and our TLP Awards here.