Keenan Reynolds breaks records with elite rushing grade
Keenan Reynolds led ESPN’s fan vote for the Heisman Trophy, notably for running into the NCAA record books by becoming the career rushing touchdown leader. While we don’t typically gush over traditional stats, his 42 rushing TDs in the past two seasons and 85 career rushing TDs is impressive.
Not only did Reynolds set a new bar, he led Navy to one of the best seasons in school history. With a Military Bowl victory on December 28th, the Midshipmen have the opportunity to notch 11 wins — the most in one season in school history.Navy has cracked 10 wins in a season just four times in its prestigious history, and Reynolds is a major part of that success.
Navy’s offense is one of the few in the nation that utilize a traditional Wing-T or “flexbone” triple option. It is an offense that is heavily reliant on the QB being able to read the defense and deciding on whether to give it quickly to the fullback, keep it or pitch to the wingback. No one did this better than Reynolds as he posted a +18.0 rushing grade — a mark that ranked second in the nation to only Houston’s Greg Ward Jr.
Navy rarely throws, as they utilize the pass at about 15 percent of the time. The passing game in the triple option is meant to keep defenses honest and is designed to take deep shots. This is another area where Reynolds excelled, as he led the nation in deep passing accuracy at 62.1 percent. 33 percent of his dropbacks were of the deep variety (also tops in the country) and he completed 16 of 29 for 623 yards, and 5 TDs to 0 INTs.
Perhaps one of the most impressive feats Reynolds had this year was his protection of the football. He threw just one interception and fumbled three times. Considering that no other team turned the ball over as infrequently as Navy, Reynolds’ efficiency running the triple option played a major role. Option offenses create more opportunities for the ball to hit the turf, and the Midshipmen only did so once every two games on average.
Reynolds finished the season as our 24th- overall graded quarterback. His rushing grade is what takes him there, as his +4.5 passing grade is 64th in the nation. While he led the nation in deep passing accuracy, it was typically to wide-open targets, and he struggled with basic short-game accuracy. His total accuracy percentage of 66.7 is 97th in the nation.
Keenan Reynolds’ story is a great one. He’s had an incredible career that will place him into the history books as one of the greatest Midshipmen to play the game, and his accolades are of the career variety. While our grading paints a slightly different picture of his season than what the fans voted for, he still put together a 2015 campaign for the record books.