Originally created 12/08/00

Reynolds wins Lombardi award



Bill Reynolds did some research last winter to determine how high his son, Florida Sate star Jamal Reynolds, would be selected in the 2000 NFL Draft.

Indications were that Reynolds was a mid-first round pick.

Now, the father doesn't need to look far to determine what another year in college meant to his son's career - not to mention his wallet. The Aiken High graduate widely is considered the nation's most dominating defensive end, and he's tabbed as a lock to be among the top three picks in the 2001 draft.

Wednesday, the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder won the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top college lineman.He also was a finalist for the Bednarik Award, presented the nation's best defensive player. Miami linebacker Dan Morgan was presented with the honor Thursday night.

"Awards are not everything, and I couldn't have gotten this without the team, but it's a great honor," Reynolds said after receiving the Lombardi Award.

Reynolds will go hunting for more hardware Jan. 3 when his Seminoles play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Three months later, he could be the top pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper lists Reynolds as the No. 2 senior prospect, and NFL scout Frank Coyle said he was "the nation's most dominant defensive player" in 2000.

Improving his stock was a big reason why Reynolds returned for his senior year, but it definitely wasn't the biggest. After his team's national championship win over Virginia Tech last season, the 21-year-old remembered an oath he had to keep.

It was the wish of his great-grandmother, now deceased, that all her survivors earn college degrees.

"One of the main things I stress is to make good grades and stay in school," Reynolds said before the season. "If you don't have the grades, you won't get a scholarship."

So Reynolds hit the books and is on course to fulfill Mary Burrell's degree decree with a bachelor's in sports management.

He hit opposing ball carriers just as hard, amassing 58 tackles and 12 sacks for 70 yards in losses this season. His accelerated dominance was forged in large part last summer, when he spent extra hours working out with Seminoles linebacker Brian Allen and cousin Walter Scott, a former NFL member. Reynolds increased his bench press to 525 pounds, improved his vertical leap to 39 inches and shaved his time in the 40-yard dash to 4.4 seconds.

Reynolds is smaller than most NFL defensive ends, which has led to talk that he'll play linebacker in the pros. But Florida State assistant Jim Gladden said his student is just fine where he is.

"Jamal needs to have that 4.4 speed going toward the quarterback and not fiddling around," Gladden said. "When you take him away from that and back him up, that's like taking the dog out of the hunt."

Lombardi Award winners since 1990

1990: Chris Zorich, Notre Dame

1991: Steve Emtman, Washington

1992: Marvin Jones, Florida State

1993: Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame

1994: Warren Sapp, Miami

1995: Orlando Pace, Ohio State

1996: Orlando Pace, Ohio State

1997: Grant Wistrom, Nebraska

1998: Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M

1999: Corey Moore, Virginia Tech

2000: Jamal Reynolds, Florida State

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or larrywill7@yahoo.com.