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West Brook QB Reyes gains praise from Weinke

His footwork was more than enough to impressive former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke while his strong arm is enough to make his father, a retired Marine, shed a tear.

West Brook senior quarterback Bruce Reyes will attempt to invoke similar feelings today when he meets coaches from the University of Texas-El Paso, who are traveling to Houston to watch him work out. The praise and attention Reyes is receiving is a far cry from last summer when he was working on making the transition from receiver to quarterback.

Throwing for 2,593 yards and 18 touchdowns along with an unexpected third-round playoff appearance last season has people believing Reyes can lead West Brook to another deep playoff run while he emerges as one of the state's most promising quarterback prospects.

Even if he is only 5-11.

"I am more serious about playing quarterback after what Coach Weinke told me," Reyes said. "He said that I have all the tools. That height doesn't matter. I took that very seriously."

Reyes' ability is impressive.

His stats, including a 60.5 completion percentage and 569 rushing yards, were enough for Reyes to be named District 21-5A's Most Valuable Player.

It was enough to for Dave Campbell's Texas Football to name Reyes the Class 5A Breakout Player of the Year in its winter edition.

Yet his height is the reason that some schools only want him as an athlete.

Reyes' height was not an issue with the IMG Academy football program in Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy is a sports agency that has a 300-acre campus that specializes in training athletes in various sports. IMG recently opened its football academy in conjunction with football coaching legend John Madden.

IMG recently had a quarterback camp where Reyes was one of 25 signal-callers from across the nation to be invited, said IMG spokesperson Josh Clark.

"Through MaxPreps, we were able to identify athletes in an elite category that needed a push to if they wanted to play for a good college program," Clark said. "We felt that Bruce was one of those kids."

Reyes and his father, Bruce Sr., flew to Bradenton where they spent two weeks at the academy as he was tutored by Weinke and quarterback coach Terry Shay. Shay tutored the previous two No. 1 overall picks in the NFL Draft in Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford.

Bruce Reyes Sr. said he was a little skeptical of the camp because his son had learned a lot from West Brook coach and former Texas A&M quarterback Craig Stump about playing the position.

A few days passed and the skepticism was gone, Reyes Sr. said.

"At this camp they explained things differently, things like throwing the ball with arc and pace," Reyes Sr. said. "There was a drill where Bruce had to throw the ball over an eight-foot net and drop it into a barrel. He launched the ball and made it in the barrel. It was an 18-yard throw, but it was difficult. Watching him do it, I got teary-eyed."

Weinke didn't get that emotional, but he did say that he took a liking to Reyes for many reasons.

The 2000 Heisman Trophy winner said Reyes was someone who didn't say a lot and continued to do whatever was asked of him.

Weinke added that another thing that made him a Reyes fan was his footwork.

"I enjoyed working with him but the one thing that initially stood out for me was his footwork," Weinke said. "That guy has some of the best feet I have ever seen. With a quarterback you build them from the ground up because feet affect everything. It affects leverage, accuracy and ultimately how you can move around in the pocket."

Reyes Sr. said a lot of what he and his son have learned about playing quarterback comes from Stump's tutelage.

Stump cannot tutor Reyes right now because University Interscholastic League rules state high school coaches cannot work with players during the summer.

That's a big reason why Stump said he's pleased when Reyes or any of his players have an opportunity to attend a football camp.

"A lot of times it does not hurt to go to a camp because it refines them or maybe it tells them something we've told them before but its said in a different way," Stump said. "He played receiver a year ago and the things you've worked on with him, he's accepted them. It validates what you have been teaching him and its only going to make him better."

Weinke was so impressed with Reyes that after the camp he told them that he was going to use him in a IMG Academy highlight film.

And that he was going to talk to coaches at Texas, Texas A&M and Weinke's alma mater, Florida State, about finding Reyes a place to play.

"If he was 6-2 or 6-3, there's no question that he'd be one of the top five to ten quarterbacks in the country," Weinke said. "What I told him is do not let that get in the way of playing at the next level. There are quarterbacks that have 'it' and he's one of them. He has the right makeup, he's a leader, he's confident and he has the intangibles to be a successful quarterback at the next level."

Perhaps Reyes' meeting with UTEP could get him one step closer to being successful.

And if he lives up to the lofty praise, Stump said any school willing to give Reyes a chance to play quarterback could also be successful.

"A lot of times you see a quarterback playing on Saturdays that are not 6-2, 6-3 and they call them winners," Stump said. "Someone is going to see him this fall and when they're done watching him, they are going to have to take that chance on him."

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