Atlantic City Absegami football

Atlantic City HIgh School’s Dayshawn Reynolds leaps for yardage between Absegami defenders Joe Brennan, top, and Ryan Ganard (24) during the first half Friday night in Galloway Township.

Staff photo by Ben Fogletto

Coach Thomas Kelly of the Atlantic City High School football team asked Dayshawn Reynolds two years ago where he wanted to go to college.

“I was expecting him to say Notre Dame or Alabama,” Kelly said.

Reynolds, a standout defensive back and wide receiver, without hesitation said Temple.

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“It struck me as peculiar back then and here we are two years later,” Kelly said.

Reynolds kept his word. He verbally committed to Temple this week.

“I don’t know why I started liking Temple but that’s been my dream school forever,” Reynolds said Tuesday. “I can’t even explain it.”

The 6-foot-1, 181-pound senior caught 49 passes for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns. Reynolds combines speed with an ability to make would-be tacklers miss. The Vikings finished 8-3 and lost in the South Jersey Group V semifinals to eventual champion Williamstown.

Kelly said Temple wants Reynolds to play defense back and return punts and kickoffs.

Under NCAA regulations, Temple coaches cannot comment on Reynolds until he signs a national letter of intent. Football recruits cannot sign a letter of intent until the first Wednesday of February, according to the NCAA.

Reynolds is also a standout guard on the Atlantic City boys basketball team that won the state Group IV title last season and is 13-1 this year. Temple coaches watched Reynolds play three basketball games this winter.

“Temple hung in there and stayed with him,” Kelly said. “They followed him and followed him.”

Temple plays in the Big East Conference. The Owls finished 4-7 last season under coach Steve Addazio, who resigned in December to become the Boston College coach. Temple named Matt Rhule its new coach later that month. Rhule is a former Temple assistant and was an assistant with the New York Giants last season.

Reynolds visited Temple last weekend.

“I liked the coaching staff,” he said, “and the guys on the team. It’s away from home, but it’s not too far from home.”

Reynolds is on the verge of qualifying academically to play as a freshman. Kelly said he is confident Reynolds will meet the requirements. But both Kelly and Reynolds said Temple will stick with Reynolds even if he has to attend a prep school for a season before college. Temple’s faith in him was another reason for Reynolds’ decision.

“For them to believe in me the whole way, shows how much they really want me,” Reynolds said. “This is great. It’s a blessing.”

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