ORANGE, Calif. – Orange (Cailf.) Lutheran defensive end Michael Reardon says U.S. History is his favorite class in school.
And it's a good thing he paid attention in class because history has taught us time after time that there isn't much need for 6-foot-6, 240-pound power forwards in the NBA.
But Reardon also learned after sitting out his sophomore season to play only basketball there is a much bigger need for guys of that stature in college football and the NFL.
"I had to give basketball a shot," Reardon said. "I still love the game and it's something I really do enjoy doing, but I think it's become pretty clear if I want to play past high school that football is going to be my ticket."
And you can definitely expect him to punch it.
Orange Lutheran coach Jim Kunau raves about Reardon.
The season away from football did set him back a little bit physically, but he quickly made up for it with a very good junior season. Kunau said Reardon is now to the point where he should be one of Orange County's top defensive line targets for the class of 2007.
"He's a pure athlete that's one of the best of the best guys we've ever had here," Kunau said. "He's a very powerful guy. He's got a 320-pound power clean. That just shows you how strong and powerful this kid is.
"He's the real deal."
He's also an excellent person off the field, his coach says.
"He's also one of the top two leaders in the junior class," Kunau said. "He's a 4.0 student that's as good as anybody academically in his class. He's got a great value system and his family has raised him the right way. I think all of those things will allow him to be recruited at a high level."
It also doesn't hurt that he's a heck of a football player. Kunau said with Reardon's long arms and frame he's a terror when he rushes the quarterback, but he's also strong enough physically to defend the run and be an every down defensive lineman.
"He's improved steadily every step of the way," Kunau said. "It's going to be amazing to see what he's like this time next year.
Reardon is starting to get excited about what his future might hold. He's already talked to UCLA, UCLA and has interest in other Pac 10 teams.
"I know I still have a long way to go," he said. "But I'm at the point where I can start to see what my future now holds. I have to continue to work hard and get better in the weight room and on the field.
"It's kind of funny, I think playing basketball makes me a better football player. I have a lot of really good agility because of it. I'm a lot quicker than a lot of other guys my size, and it's all because of basketball."