MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 21, 2013

WR Jaz Reynolds emerging for Oklahoma Sooners


Associated Press

— NORMAN – It might seem as if Jaz Reynolds’ football career at Oklahoma has been a long series of missteps.

Reynolds, a fifth-year senior wide receiver, seems resolute in his desire that he not be remembered for his mistakes, but rather for his play. He took a step toward that goal last Saturday, catching four passes for 109 yards as No. 14 Oklahoma (3-0) rolled to a 51-20 win over Tulsa.

It reminded fans of the promise Reynolds had coming out of Eisenhower High School in Houston, before some ill-advised tweets and two lengthy suspensions. It would have been easy to leave Oklahoma and seek a fresh start, but Reynolds said that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

“I was taught growing up to never quit,” Reynolds said. “I could have transferred but in my mind that would be quitting and running away from your problems. You can persevere through it and keep going and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I just wanted someone to look at me and be able to see that I made it through my situation and they can, too.”

As a freshman in 2009, Reynolds played in nine games and caught 13 passes for 256 yards - decent numbers for a newcomer in a high-profile program, especially after he sat out most of his senior season of high school due to an ankle injury.

He redshirted in 2010, but managed to find his way into trouble. Not long after a gunman committed suicide on the University of Texas campus during the week of the annual rivalry game between Oklahoma and the Longhorns, Reynolds tweeted, “Hey everyone in Austin, tx.......kill yourself (hash)evil laugh.” A few minutes later, he sent another tweet:  “Everyone in austin, tx disregard that last tweet....y’all will mess around n do it lmao.”

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops suspended Reynolds indefinitely, saying he was “incredibly disappointed that someone connected with our team would react so callously” and that the Sooners’ “rivalry with Texas will not come at the expense of dignity and respect.”

Reynolds eventually was reinstated for the 2011 season. He played in 10 games, making six starts, and had 41 catches for 715 yards and five touchdowns, including a 141-yard outing in a win over Ball State. But he was suspended again, this time for the entire 2012 season, for an unspecified team rules violation.

“There were plenty of tough days,” Reynolds said. “I had a tough year.”