We are back with the FCS Spotlight series and now look at the defensive side of things with Cole Reyes.
The Free Safety at North Dakota has collected several All-American Honors throughout his college career. In 2016 he was one of 11 subdivision players honoured by the FCS Athletics Directors Association and was recognised as the best defensive back in the FCS.
Last season (2016/17) was Reyes’ first season with multiple interceptions with 3 on the season. He also managed 44 solo tackles and 2 forced fumbles.
Looking at his tape, one thing you would notice that he reads the quarterback about as well as any DB in college football. He has strong hands and given the opportunity will hold on to the ball if you throw it near him. He may not be the fastest safety in the game, but he more than makes up for that with a strong football IQ.
Cole took the time to talk to us about his time in football so far.
So Cole, tell me a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Brawley, California. Lived there for 5 years, then moved to Schaumburg, IL. So I grew up in Schaumburg most of my life.
How old were you when you started playing Football?
I was in 2nd grade, so I think 7 years old
Growing up, did you always want to be a football player?
Yeah, I have 2 older brothers. They were a huge influence in my life, because they showed me football. I always got to play with them and their friends, and it made me a tough kid. It gave me an aggressive mentality out on the field.
So what made you choose North Dakota?
I get this question a lot. I had a few other FCS scholarships, some even in my home state. But I came up here for a visit, and something about it just felt right. It was a little different than coming from such a big suburb, near Chicago. But it is kind of like the best of both worlds. Everything here seems slowed down, and people are much nicer. To where back home everything is so fast paced and people are not as polite.
What is it that you are studying there?
I’m getting my degree in general studies; I was so late on declaring a major because I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do.
Let’s go back to your Freshman year, you got your first interception against Weber State. What did that feel like?
It was a great feeling, being able to get comfortable in our system started to give me a chance to play my game.
So in Football, what would you say is your proudest achievement to date?
Winning the conference with my teammates! This program was nowhere near where we wanted it to be when I came here as a freshman. Just so much hard work and dedication, and we were able to achieve a goal we had set. Obviously I got some cool personal awards, but nothing compares to holding the conference trophy up at home in front of our fans.
What would you say is your proudest achievement off the field?
I think graduating college will be by far my proudest moment; no one in my immediate family got the chance to do it. They are counting on me to break the cycle, walking across that stage to receive my diploma with them in the stands will be an indescribable moment.
So, have you ever played other positions or always been a safety?
Yeah growing up I was always running back and middle linebacker, then in high school my head coach thought I would be a decent safety. I guess it paid off.
Are you more comfortable as a free safety or would you rather be moved into strong safety or another position?
I’m comfortable at both safety positions, and also enjoy being in the box. I play more strong that free safety now, but I do both throughout games.
What are the aspects of your game that you think help you succeed the most?
I think my instincts are what ups my game. I do watch a lot of film, and understanding schemes and tendencies. But I just feel like sometimes I know exactly where the ball is going before the snap.
Do you study any NFL players and try to base your game on them?
I do I try to pull some stuff from a lot of different guys. I really enjoy watching Tyrann Mathieu and Landon Collins, but there are many guys I watch.
Who would you say is the biggest inspiration in your life?
My mother, without a doubt.
Who is the best player you have ever played alongside?
I would say Will Ratelle, he played inside linebacker here 2 years ago.
If you could play alongside any former NFL player, who would it be?
Ray Lewis and Ed Reed when they controlled the Ravens defence. Man I wish we could have played on that defence!
It was pretty good! Are you a Ravens fan then? To finish, is there anywhere in particular you would want to get drafted to in the NFL?
Unfortunately I’m a 49ers fan. But no, I’m not a picky person. My goal is to get an opportunity, because I know if I get that, I will make the absolute most out of it.
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