Dec. 7, 2000
By MICHAEL A. LUTZ
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Jamal Reynolds, the Florida State defensive end who helped the Seminoles reach the Orange Bowl, won the Lombardi Award on Wednesday night as the nation’s top college lineman.
“It’s a blessing that I’ve had this opportunity to take advantage of my ability,” Reynolds said. “Nothing is promised to you.”
Reynolds edged three other finalists, center Ben Hamilton of Minnesota, guard Steve Hutchinson of Michigan and center Dominic Raiola of Nebraska.
“Jamal is one of those throwbacks to the 1950s,” Florida State assistant coach Jim Gladden said. “When you see him it is, `Yes, sir,’ and `No, sir.’
“He comes from a functional family that gave him a set of values in the home. He’s been an extremely hard worker and a quiet leader. He just doesn’t go around running off his mouth.”
Reynolds has a team-high 12 sacks this season for the Seminoles, ranked sixth nationally in total defense and second in scoring defense.
“He’s a very gifted athlete,” Gladden said. “He was a linebacker in high school and we moved him to defensive end because we had a need and he’s been great.”
Gladden believes Reynolds will make a good rush end in the NFL and hopes pro coaches don’t try to move him back to linebacker despite his athletic skills. Reynolds bench presses 525 pounds, runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and has a 39-inch vertical leap.
“Jamal needs to have that 4.4 speed going toward the quarterback and not fiddling around,” Gladden said. “When you take him away from that and back him up that’s like taking the dog out of the hunt. That’s my way of thinking.”