Charleston Southern running back Christian Reyes received much acclaim for his performance on the football field last season, helping lead the Buccaneers to a 10-3 record while setting the school's single-season rushing record with 1,254 yards.
Reyes, a first-team all-Big South selection, is now earning kudos for his efforts off the field. Reyes was recently nominated for the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Good Works Team, a program designed to recognize outstanding leaders who also give of their time through community service.
Reyes, a father and husband, is a rising senior at CSU and has a busy enough schedule, balancing home life, football and his academic load. However, he also spends a lot of his free time reading to third-graders at local elementary schools and participating in various team community service projects.
"It's a lot of stuff sometimes to deal with, but I truly enjoy being able to get involved with the kids of our community," said Reyes, who hails from Rogue River, Ore. "As a program, we want the support of our community, but I also feel it's part of our responsibility to give back.
"I can remember as a kid the players from our local high school showing up at our elementary school. It's a big deal to those kids, and if we can spend some time as mentors to them, it's well worth the effort. We're not professional players, or anyone famous, but the kids look up to us so that makes it important."
Reyes says having a son that is turning 2 years old next month has helped him understand much earlier how important it is to have a healthy balance in life.
"Obviously, my situation is a bit different that most college football players, but I wouldn't change a thing," he said. "We find a way to make it work."
Charleston Southern football coach Jamey Chadwell says Reyes' impact on his teammates is evident.
"He's one of the most respected players on our team," Chadwell said last season. "He has been forced to grow up a lot quicker than most guys his age, but he handles everything life throws at him. He has been a blessing to this program."
A final roster of 22 award recipients will be announced in September.