When Jacob Ramon arrived at Hillcrest High School in late July, it didn’t take long for him to pick Nasir Reynolds out of the crowd.
Like his head coach, Reynolds was new on campus. After moving to Dallas from Danville, Virginia, during the summer, the quiet and unassuming sophomore didn’t make an immediate impression — until he got on the field.
(ABOVE: Sophomore Nasir Reynolds has emerged as one of the top running backs in the Dallas area. Photo: Chris McGathey)
“He stood out because he’s a lot faster than everybody else,” Ramon said. “He didn’t say much, but he showed up every day and did everything you asked him to do. And he did it fast.”
Just like that, Ramon found the focal point for his offense. Despite Hillcrest’s struggles, Reynolds sped past opposing defenses all season, finishing with more than 2,000 rushing yards, or more than 200 per game.
He averaged in excess of 11 yards per carry and scored 21 touchdowns, which is especially impressive considering the Panthers only won two games during a rebuilding year.
“I like putting the team on my back,” Reynolds said. “I think we’ll be good in the next year or two.” -Nasir Reynolds
Reynolds rushed for 140 yards during the first quarter of the season opener against Fort Worth Poly, and had two touchdown runs of more than 70 yards before halftime in that game.
“I knew he was going to be something special,” Ramon said. “But he was out of gas in the fourth quarter.”
So while most Hillcrest starters play both offense and defense, Hillcrest coaches cut back on the defensive snaps for Reynolds to help conserve his energy. Bigger games followed, including a 339-yard, six-touchdown performance in a win over North Dallas.
Reynolds didn’t even start playing football until two years ago, at the encouragement of some of his eighth-grade classmates in Danville. He became the starting JV running back last year as a freshman.
“I started really growing a passion for the game, so I kept rolling with it,” said Reynolds, who also plans to compete in basketball and track for the Panthers. “I worked on my craft and my speed. I wound up getting the starting spot.”
The move to Texas coincided with his father getting a new job. But while he reluctantly had to leave some family and friends behind, he’s enjoying his new surroundings.
“That’s the one thing I thought about on the way down here. . . football,” Reynolds said. “They welcomed me with open arms. It wasn’t hard getting acclimated.”
As Ramon tries to build the Hillcrest program, he said players already have gravitated to Reynolds, a straight-A student with a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
“He’s the nucleus of our team,” Ramon said. “He’s the total package. We’re blessed to have him.”