If there’s a chance to win something, Jalen Reagor isn’t going to let it go. Not even for an early start to his TCU football career.
Instead of enrolling in January and working in spring practice with the Horned Frogs, Reagor and teammate Kenedy Snell opted to take one more shot at a prize that eluded them a year ago — a high school state championship in track.
On Friday in Austin, Reagor will compete in the Class 5A boys long jump, where he owns the state’s top mark this year at 26 feet, and he and Snell will run on the Indians’ 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
By the time they are done, the future TCU receivers will never have to wonder, “What if?”
“I don’t want to rush it, but then I want to rush it,” Reagor said, remembering his decision to finish his senior year at Waxahachie. “You’ve got to take your time. You don’t want to get to college and think, ‘We could have won a ring.’ ”
Waxahachie’s Jalen Reagor competes at 8 a.m. Friday in the 5A boys long jump. He and Kenedy Snell are part of the Indians’ 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams, running at 6 and 7:45 p.m.
Reagor and Snell consider themselves football players first, track athletes second. But the pull of redemption in the spring sport was too much.
“If he would have left to go to TCU early, I would have left,” Reagor said of Snell, his fellow TCU signee. “But I ran track because last year, we came in second at state. This year, we’ve got a chance to redeem ourselves. I like to compete. So if I feel we’ve got a chance, I’m going to do it. If I feel like we’ve got a chance to win a state championship, or even be in the mix, then I’m going to do my best at it, as if I was playing football.”
Football is Reagor’s first love, and how could it not be?
He is the son of former Texas Tech standout defensive end Monte Reagor, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts in February 2007.
Ever since I could hold a football, that’s when I knew. That’s what I wanted to do. ... If somebody asked what do you want to do, I said I want to play football.
TCU football signee Jalen Reagor
“Ever since I could hold a football, that’s when I knew,” Jalen said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I liked basketball. I played it because I was good at it. But football, if somebody asked what do you want to do, I said I want to play football.”
His father never steered Jalen toward football. He told him he could try whatever he wanted, with one condition — he had to dominate.
“Not just to go out and play the game, not just to go out and compete, but always to dominate,” the senior Reagor said. “If you have that attitude, you won’t settle for less. If you go out to just compete, then you’ll settle for less. You set out to dominate, it’ll make you work harder.”
So when Jalen says he is coming to TCU with the intention to win a starting role in 2017, it’s easy to figure where it comes from.
“I plan to compete to start,” he said. “I’m going in to take a spot.”
26 Feet, the state’s best long-jump performance this season, by Waxahachie’s Jalen Reagor.
Reagor’s drive proved easy to spot on the recruiting trail, too.
“Has a motor,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said on National Signing Day. “Has a want-to.”
Reagor is not alone in his competitiveness. Snell, who has been likened to TCU receiver KaVontae Turpin, has his own plan.
“I’m going to try to be the fastest freshman on the team,” he said. “That way I have to get the ball in my hands and make something happen.”
The UIL state track meet heat sheets
Plenty has happened for both players already.
Reagor finished his senior season at Waxahachie rated as the sixth-best receiver recruit in the country by ESPN and second-best in Texas by 247Sports, choosing TCU in a hard-pitched recruiting battle after earlier commitments to his father’s alma mater, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.
“The thing that stands out the most to me is his route-running,” Waxahachie football assistant and head track coach Andre Granger said. “How he gets in and out of routes, how he understands coverage, where to sit if it’s zone, if it’s man to keep climbing; he’s different. Every week someone would try to do something different — cover 2, bracket underneath, 2-on-1 look, 3-on-1 look. He still found ways to get it done.”
Snell was rated the 20th-best receiver in Texas by 247Sports and averaged 10.7 yards a carry and 19.2 yards a catch in his final three years at Waxahachie.
“I haven’t seen anybody tackle him one-on-one in space yet,” Granger said. “His first step is so quick. To see someone get full speed from here to there, make moves and still accelerate? It’s unbelievable.”
Jalen Reagor and Kenedy Snell become the second and third Waxahachie players on the TCU roster. Offensive lineman Quazzel White was coached by Waxahachie coach Jon Kitna in Tacoma, Wash.
TCU is next for both.
More accurately, the state track meet is next for both, and the chance to finish some unfinished business.
It did not surprise Jalen’s father that the competitiveness in his son turned into one more shot at a championship.
“He’s had it from when he was a young child. Always wanted to be out working on his craft,” the elder Reagor said. “He was always very determined, very grateful for every opportunity that was given to him. I’ve been proud of him from Day 1. He’s done nothing but prove me right.”