Down to Earth with SU’s Eric Coley

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If you aren’t a freak of nature like LeBron James, “talent alone won’t even get you a spot on the team. You need a work ethic and mental toughness.”

That’s what Eric Coley claimed when he was asked about his thoughts about the correlation between work ethic and talent.

Coley, who displayed his talent by rushing for 1295 yards in his senior season at Fayetteville-Manlius that was ended early due to a hand injury, is headed to Syracuse University to play football for the Orange, where he will join his father, Vincent Reynolds, who is the defensive line coach there.

Before Reynolds was hired by Syracuse, the duo spent time at Western Michigan and Coley attended high school at Portage Northern in Portage, Mich. But the opportunity that Reynolds earned immediately gave the Fayetteville-Manlius football program a chance to compete for a sectional title.

But Coley’s hand injury deflated F-M’s entire team and crushed their hopes for a playoff run. Not only did it take away the running back who provided them with 405 all-purpose yards in the road game against Henninger, but, it took away F-M’s threat in the secondary.

No matter how you look at it, the injury sidelined a Division I athlete.

When he spoke about joining Reynolds at Syracuse, he stated that it will be a learning experience for both of them, but, when it comes down to it, he “really just wants to win a championship with him.”

Before committing to Syracuse, Coley received offers from colleges like Army, Boston College, and Rutgers. But, it didn’t matter. He had his eyes set on Syracuse as soon as his father was hired.

He went on to say that there is a constant desire “to be the best” at what he does and said that he praises the importance of being “prepared for the task at hand.”

But, even though he knows how much talent he has, Coley is humble and says that he is a “regular student” who just “tries to get the best grades possible” and isn’t “a star by any means.” He added that he strives to fulfill the expectations that are brought on by both his parents and the man in the mirror.

He said that football has an unique way of assisting boys as they become men.

F-M’s former running back said that football players aren’t automatically men just because they can tackle somebody really hard or catch a pass. He did say that playing football has taught him to work with others and to hold himself “accountable for certain things.”

Coley said that his experiences on the football field have shaped him as a person.

“Getting knocked down and getting back up is something that I have applied to everyday life,” he says, “I know that I can take a lot of pain and still come out strong.”

He also said that he doesn’t really know what his future looks like, but, hopes that it includes a “great career in the NFL.”

And then he was humble again when he spoke about the similarities and differences between him and I. As he stated that we are both “strong-minded individuals,” he explained that the differences between us are “incredible” and said that he admires how I “push through the day with a smile” and don’t complain.

Coley plans to play defensive back for Syracuse and will use his work ethic to make noise in the four years he spends there.
Joey Pagano
The Wheelchair Quarterback

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