Editor's note: This week we'll take a brief look at Texas A&M players who surprised us with their performances during spring practice, which wrapped up for the Aggies earlier this month.
One position that saw plenty of competition during spring football and will continue to when preseason training camp begins for Texas A&M is wide receiver.
Three of last year's four starters are gone (Mike Evans, Derel Walker and Travis Labhart) meaning there are a lot of receptions and yards up for grabs. The aforementioned trio of receivers combined for 171 receptions and 2,838 receiving yards last season.
The Aggies have recruited receivers heavily in recent recruiting classes, meaning there's plenty of talented bodies available, though many are unproven. The lack of veteran receivers (Malcome Kennedy is the only returning starter) means even incoming recruits have a chance to fight for a job. While much of the focus in that area was on five-star prospect Speedy Noil, another receiver also enrolled early with him, one who was much less heralded as a recruit: Joshua Reynolds.
"He's been good," coach Kevin Sumlin said in late March. "He's got a real upside to him since he's got three years [of eligibility remaining]. He's a little bit like Derel Walker in that he's long, probably a little bit longer than Derel. He's got great ball skills, can run and has real soft hands."
Reynolds was the definition of an under-the-radar prospect. He wasn't heavily recruited coming out of high school and opted to spend a year at Tyler (Texas) Junior College. He received much more attention there and signed with the Aggies as a mid-term enrollee.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect wasted little time this spring getting quality practice time, including reps with the first team at times. And like Sumlin said, he reminds the Aggies of Walker, who was also a junior college transfer and was second on the team in receiving yards last season with 818 while hauling in 51 catches, scoring five touchdowns.
"Huge catch radius," A&M receivers coach David Beaty said. "I think this guy's path is going to remind us a lot of Derel Walker....He's got good acceleration and he is long. He might have the longest arms I've ever seen."
The one thing Reynolds will have to continue to improve on is maintaining a solid weight. Sumlin noted his slight frame, and though Reynolds did add some weight this spring, he'll have to maintain it going into the fall. If he does, don't be surprised if Reynolds gets on the field and contributes to the high-powered Texas A&M offense.
"This summer's going to be big for him," Sumlin said. "He was pretty slight in junior college like Derel was when he first got here and now, he's gained seven or eight pounds with strength and conditioning and the nutrition center has really helped him. The summer's going to be big for him to carry that weight and continue his progress and learning what we're doing but also being physical and being the kind of guy we need. He's got a real chance to help us next fall."