Shortly after Rylan Reed slowly elevated the school-record 625 pounds Monday afternoon, he said "it felt like the weight of the world was lifted when I racked it." The Texas Tech senior offensive tackle shattered his previous best and school mark of 565 pounds, set last summer at the Football Training Facility at Texas Tech. The lift was witnessed by several of his teammates and members of the football staff.
Reed, who went from minor league pitcher to cancer survivor to college football player, pulled double duty in his quest to set a new personal best. The Dallas native suffered a broken ankle against Virginia in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day and has spent a majority of the offseason rehabbing, while also continuing his workouts. A support system of friends and family rallied around Reed during the rehab and strength training to help pull him through.
"My teammates were there for me through the whole thing," said Reed, who should be back on the field when the Red Raiders begin preseason training camp Monday. "My family, sister, mom and brother-in-law, all provided support. They kept telling me `you will come out of this better than you were before.'"
While limited in his lower body workouts, Reed still managed to do leg work, despite the severity of his ankle injury. It also allowed more time to work on his upper body strength.
"Steve (Pincock) and the training staff and Bennie (Wylie) and the strength staff had to customize everything for me to do the things my body would allow me to do," Reed said. "I worked mostly on my upper body, but was able to do some work with my legs. I did do some leg extensions and single leg stuff. I was pretty limited, but was able to do anything that was stabilized - seated leg extension and limited hamstring work."
In March, Reed benched 225 pounds 35 times - all while balancing with one leg up and one on the ground. The NFL set 25 reps of 225 as the benchmark for linemen at the annual NFL Combine.
"He is one of the most dedicated guys I've ever been around," said Wylie, who also worked as a strength coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Perhaps one of the more amazing stories in college football. Reed doesn't get talked about enough.