Cornerback Tekeim “T.J.” Reynard was all set to return for his second year at Independence (Kan.) Community College.
But things changed quickly over the last two or three weeks. Now, Reynard will pack his bags and head to Madison next month after giving an oral commitment to the University of Wisconsin on Saturday as the last piece to the 2013 class.
How it all unfolded for Reynard makes for an interesting tale.
Independence coach Steve Carson, who coached the defensive backs for the Badgers under Dave McClain in 1985 and Jim Hilles in 1986, said schools missed out on Reynard leading up to signing day in February. Carson said Hawaii and some Mid-American Conference schools showed the most interest.
“A lot of guys sniffed around but they kind of missed on him,” Carson said in a phone interview on Monday. “Being a freshman, he wasn’t on our recruiting list. We were thinking he was going to be here two years, not one year.”
When Reynard, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, didn’t get the offer he wanted, Carson encouraged him to return for another season.
“I said, ‘Listen, stay another year, you’re going to be able to come out mid-year (January of 2014). Don’t get anxious,’ ” Carson said.
“I told him during the recruiting process, ‘I think you’ll be good if you just stay another year, you’ll get what you wanted.’ Good for him, not so good for us, he got what he wanted sooner than I wanted him to get it, but that’s OK for him. I’m happy for him.”
Reynard came to Independence as a cornerback but moved to safety to get on the field. He intercepted two passes and finished with 88 tackles.
Carson said he had two older cornerbacks and the team is restricted to having 12 out-of-state players on the roster, which sometimes leads to juggling positions to make things fit.
“He’s an outstanding tackler,” Carson said. “I think he’s a corner at the next level. His feet are very good, he’s got great hips. I think he’ll do a great job at corner.
“He played corner in preseason for us, we knew he could play corner. ... We moved him to safety to make sure we got him on the field and he played very well for us.”
Colorado started recruiting Reynard a couple weeks ago. UW safeties coach Bill Busch then called Carson, inquiring about prospects for the 2014 class. Busch also mentioned he was really looking for a corner for this year’s class, which is when Carson mentioned Reynard.
UW coach Gary Andersen has made it clear he’s not reluctant to sign junior-college transfers provided they are good fits. Reynard seems to fit that description.
He is from Virginia Beach, Va., and attended a small private school, Greenbrier Christian Academy, in Chesapeake, Va. Carson said Reynard was an academic qualifier out of high school, but didn’t get the offers he wanted.
“Being (at UW) before and knowing the academics and the type of kid he is, I think it’ll be a very good fit for him,” Carson said.
Reynard doesn’t have blazing speed, according to Carson, but makes up for it with quick feet and good techniques.
“He’s not a burner, but that, to me, is relative,” Carson said. “I think how you play your technique and the quickness of your feet and hips are going to be a lot more important than how fast you run straight line.”
Reynard, who has three years of eligibility remaining, could help UW right away, according to Carson, despite playing a different position last season.
Carson said the eight-team Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, which includes ICC, had 48 players sign with Football Bowl Subdivision teams during this signing period.
“I think Wisconsin got a good young man, (who) could be an outstanding player,” Carson said. “He’s got three years to play for (UW). All of the upside is in front of him.”
Dayne likely headed to Hall
The College Football Hall of Fame class for 2013 will be announced today and the group of 12 players and two coaches is expected to include former Badgers running back Ron Dayne.
Dayne, who is one of the nominees, set the NCAA career rushing record of 6,397 yards from 1996 to 1999.
In advance of the complete list of honorees, which will be revealed at 10:30 a.m., the National Football Foundation announced former Miami (Fla.) quarterback Vinny Testaverde as part of this year’s class.
Sporting News also named former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier as another selection.
Another road night game
The Badgers will be without a home night game this season after adding a second road night game.
The Big Ten Network on Monday announced its prime-time schedule, which will include UW’s game at Illinois on Oct. 19. The kickoff for the game is 7 p.m.
Last week, ABC/ESPN announced the UW game Sept. 28 at Ohio State will be a 7 p.m. game, televised nationally on one of its networks.
The Big Ten completed its prime-time schedule for 2013, which includes a record 18 games.
The last season UW did not have a home night game was in 2006.