Navy senior ready for role as starting quarterback

Posted at 9:50 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 23:49:24-04

Last season, starting Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds shattered records. 

Reynolds now holds five NCAA FBS records:

  • Most career rushing yards by a quarterback - 4,559 yards in 977 rushes
  • Most career rushing touchdowns - 88
  • Most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season - 31
  • Most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a game - 7 vs. San Jose State on November 22, 2013
  • Most career points scored by a non-kicker - 530

Reynolds will be the last Midshipmen to wear No. 19. He joins the list of Roger Staubach (No. 12), Joe Bellino (No. 27) and Napoleon McCallum (No.30) whose numbers have been retired by the school.

Since graduation, Reynolds was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Without Reynolds, the Mids starting quarterback position was wide open. Senior Tago Smith seemed the perfect fit.

Backing up Reynolds for the past three seasons, Smith learned Navy's offense inside and out, especially the quarterback's role. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said Smith is ready for the job.

"He knows what we're doing and he's a really good athlete," Niumatalolo said. "He was able to watch Keenan for the past couple of years, so it's just time. He's waited his time and I really believe he's going to have a great year."

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Smith won't try to replace Reynolds. He said he's going to stay true to himself.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," he said. "I've been waiting three seasons to play, so it's all worth it now."

Smith and the Navy offense will likely experience some growing pains. But more than any one individual player, Niumatalolo said he likes what he sees from his guys. He excited about the culture surrounding the team.

"Selfless, hardworking, disciplined, tough, humble... that's who were are," he said. "Just come to work every day, put on our hard hats, don't talk much and just go to work."

Smith will be put to the test Saturday in the Mids home opener against Fordham. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. 

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