On Saturday as Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson were on hand for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday, one player was noticeably absent: Keenan Reynolds.
The Navy quarterback put together a stellar senior season to go with his remarkable collegiate career, but did not get an invite to New York much to the chagrin of the Navy faithful. With his two rushing touchdowns on Saturday against Army, Reynolds became the all-time Division-I leader in rushing touchdowns. He also set a school record for career touchdowns and owns the record for the most touchdowns scored in the Army-Navy series.
In the long illustrious history of both programs, that's an impressive feat.
The Heisman, however, is not a career award and his records are not enough to reserve a seat in New York.
In the final Heisman voting results, Reynolds finished fifth with 20 first-place votes and 180 points. To compare, the Heisman winner Henry had 378 first place votes and 1,832 points. Were the two really that far apart?
Let's compare Reynolds stats to that of the other finalists. In addition to Henry, McCaffrey and Watson, we'll also throw Baker Mayfield in there since he finished fourth in the Heisman race in front of Reynolds.
- RB Derrick Henry: 1,986 rushing yards, 5.86 yards per carry, 10 receptions, 97 receiving yards, 23 total touchdowns, 2,083 all-purpose yards
- RB Christian McCaffrey: 1,847 rushing yards, 5.79 yards per carry, 41 receptions, 540 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns, 3,496 all-purpose yards
- QB Deshaun Watson: 69.5 completion percentage, 3,512 passing yards, 30 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, 887 rushing yards, 5.44 yards per carry, 11 rushing touchdowns
- QB Baker Mayfield: 68.6 completion percentage, 3,389 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes, 5 interceptions, 420 rushing yards, 3.21 yards per carry, 7 rushing touchdowns
- QB Keenan Reynolds: 53.1 completion percentage, 1,077 passing yards, 7 touchdown passes, 1 interception, 1,229 rushing yards, 5.10 yards per carry, 21 rushing touchdowns
Reynolds had 28 total touchdowns, fewer than Watson and Mayfield. He is an affective runner, but Henry, McCaffrey and even Watson have proven to be just as effective (in terms of yards per carry).
It's hard to compare Reynolds with the other candidates because of the system he plays in. As an option quarterback, he doesn't pass as much as the other quarterbacks, nor does he run as much as the running backs. You cannot get an apples to apples comparison.
The Heisman, however, is not about stats alone. In the team's first season in the AAC, Navy finished the regular season 10-2, tied with Houston for first in the Divison, and ranked thanks in large part to Reynolds' efforts. As Reynolds goes, so go the Midshipmen.
What was likely the most damning towards Reynolds chances was the level of competition. While the AAC made great strides this season and proved to be much more competitive than expected, no one will confuse the AAC for a power conference.
But ask yourself this, where would Navy be this season without Reynolds? Isn't he just as important to Navy as any of the players listed are to their respective teams?
Playing for a power conference team shouldn't be a prerequisite for being a Heisman finalist. The level of competition should absolutely be taken into account when considering finalists, but even ignoring his tremendous career, Reynolds' season seemed worthy of at least an invite to New York given the level to witch he brought his team this year.
Reynolds will have one more opportunity to prove the voters wrong as he leads Navy against Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28.