Christian Reyes has never felt so blessed — or so conflicted.
The former Rogue River football standout received four scholarship offers from NCAA Division I FCS schools after composing a record-breaking career at College of the Siskiyous. Best of all, the 20-year-old Reyes says, he is a husband and a father now.
Another blessing came on Wednesday afternoon, when the running back met with Boise State University head coach Chris Peterson in Weed, Calif.
What Reyes learned from Peterson is that BSU — a program he grew up idolizing — is interested in him, but that it is also waiting on a similar player in Iowa who is weighing a couple other options.
Reyes was prepared to verbally commit to Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C., just a day before, but all that has changed. He says he'll now hold off until next Wednesday, when mid-year junior college players can officially sign with a school. In the meantime, Reyes says, he'll hope that the Broncos reach out to him in a time of uncertainty.
This much is certain: the 5-foot-10, 215-pound Reyes picked up at College of the Siskiyous where he left off in Rogue River, quietly amassing gaudy statistics in the shadows of towering trees and mountains.
"He's always played with a chip on his shoulder," College of the Siskiyous head coach Charlie Roche says of Reyes. "Everyone said he was too small or too whatever, and a lot of kids we have here are similar. They didn't get recruited out of high school because everyone told them they weren't good enough, and they come here and prove them wrong."
As a sophomore this fall, Reyes shattered the school's single-season records for rushing yards (1,958) and rushing attempts (317) as the Eagles went 10-1. Along with Charleston Southern, Southern Utah, Indiana State and South Dakota State all offered Reyes scholarships following the campaign. Because of his strong grades, the California Community College Football Coaches Association offensive player of the year would be able to transfer immediately.
Reyes played alongside Taylor Cox — who is now at Kansas — last year.
"We raised each other's game," Reyes says of Cox.
Now Reyes wonders what the world of DI college football holds for him. The night before meeting with Peterson, he said he could barely sleep as he thought about what he wanted to say. He hopes he emphasized how appreciative he was ("I was just blessed to talk with him," Reyes says) and, also, how important this is for his wife Kacey and their four-month-old son Tycen.
"My priorities have changed," Reyes says. "Wherever I decide to go is not just based on football, but where my family will be most happy."
One of Roche's happiest recruiting moments came at the mall in Medford a couple years back, when he first met Reyes to discuss his future. To Roche's astonishment, the 2011 Rogue River graduate was without a team despite a record rushing career with the Class 3A Chieftains.
"I had pulled up the state of Oregon (online) and knew we needed a tailback," Roche recalls of his initial research of Reyes. "I wanted a kid who could come in and learn and be a guy as good as (Cox). I looked around and saw a kid rushing for an ungodly amount of numbers at Rogue River. How in the world is Portland State or Western Oregon or Southern Oregon not all over him? I did the investigation myself, watched film and I loved what I saw."
And Roche knows talent when he sees it: The former Eastern Illinois University football player, who began his career at the College of the Siskiyous, went on to assist at EIU, San Jose State University and University of Redlands. He's helped coach at least 17 players who have gone on to play in the NFL, including Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, and — in Weed — schools from Idaho to Arkansas are inquiring about his players.
"People are realizing we have some talent," Roche says.
And none have been better — or tougher — than Reyes, whom Roche says was the strongest player on the squad.
"Christian has the speed and can make you miss, but he'd rather run you over," Roche says.
And wherever Reyes ends up, he'll be ready to do more of the same.
"I am not gonna be a mistake," Reyes says. "Whether I'm the best when I get there or not, I want to be pushed to work even harder."
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org