HAVERHILL — Over the years, in both football and girls hoop, Kevin Bradley has had some amazing sales/recruiting jobs to build his Whittier Tech teams.
“This one was an absolute Calipari!” boasted Bradley, comparing his luring of basketball sensation Justin Reyes onto the football field to the work of defending national championship hoop coach John Calipari of Kentucky.
“He’s been unbelievable, more than I ever could have imagined.”
Bradley’s sales job for Reyes proved to be a battle of endurance.
“Four years we worked on him, waiting and waiting, but we finally got him,” said Bradley, whose 6-1 Cats are the fall’s biggest athletic surprise in the region.
“He’s been worth every second and every ounce of effort.”
One of a handful of seniors on the Whittier roster, Bradley figured the 6-foot-3 Reyes to be strictly a situational receiver. Serve it up high to him in the end zone and the all-CAC hoop star will go and get it.
But a funny thing happened on the road to the regular season.
“I really only played half of my freshmen season, before I got hurt,” said Haverhill’s Reyes, who had never played any youth football and stayed away from the game for both his sophomore and junior years. “So I guess I’m a little bit of a natural.”
Through the seven games, Reyes has 11 catches for 260 yards with four touchdowns. With each week he learns a bit more of the offense and plays a few more snaps.
And now Bradley is contemplating some real time for Reyes in the defensive secondary.
“Right now, we use him on defense like some of the NFL teams use Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, when we need someone to cover deep on the long ball,” said Bradley. “He’s a basketball player, but he just hits so hard. If he only had those two years in this game.”