A couple of days ago, we profiled Mission Viejo (Calif.) fullback Chane Moline who we said was the top player on our board at his position in the west this year. The Diablos also boast the top tight end in the west in our eyes in Konrad Reuland who had a glowing review following attending UCLA's Junior Day this past Saturday.
Reuland, 6-6, 232 pounds has come a long way since the first time we saw him play in a summer passing tournament prior to his sophomore year at Mission Viejo. Reuland started high school at Mater Dei before transferring to Mission in May of his freshman year. He had never played football before, not even in Pop Warner.
"I was always too big for my age group so if I played, I would have had to play with kids two years older than me," Reuland said. "My parents didn't want me to do it because they thought I might get hurt. I always loved football growing up, even more than basketball and I knew if I played, not to sound cocky, but I knew I could compete at a high level there.
"At Mater Dei, they really didn't like their athletes playing football and basketball and I knew I could do that at Mission Viejo because Mark (Sanchez) was there and he said the coaches had no problem with that. Mark and I have been close friends since the 6th grade when my dad coached our AAU basketball team and he was one of the main reasons why I transferred to Mission Viejo.
"Once I got there, I knew I made the right decision and things have worked out great. At first, it was a tough adjustment playing football and especially the blocking. I could run and catch but the blocking was tough to get down for me. We have great coaches at Mission Viejo though and I worked hard at it and now I think it's a strength for me."
Reuland had a solid sophomore season and then really blew up this past year earning 1st team all-state Underclass and Student Sports Junior All-American honors after catching 47 balls for 744 yards and seven touchdowns. The tight end has great hands, runs very well and really uses his body well. He's athletic and can make the tough catch and is the guy you want to throw the ball to on third and eight when you have to get a 1st down.
Reuland received early scholarship offers from Nebraska, Duke and Mississippi and then Arizona jumped on board. UCLA was the latest to offer just a week ago.
"That was totally out of the blue," Reuland said. "I hadn't heard from UCLA at all and then about two weeks ago, they send me an invite to their Junior Day. That was really the first time I heard from them as far as getting something in the mail. Then a week later, actually about a week ago, they sent me an offer in the mail. I was really surprised but very excited about it at the same time.
"I went down to Junior Day and really had a good time, UCLA moved up a lot after the visit. They have a beautiful campus, I mean, it's an incredible setting. First we watched the team scrimmage, ate and then Coach Dorrell talked to everyone. We toured the campus and the football facilities and then all the players split up to meet first with the coach who recruits our area and then we met with our position coach.
"Coach Kerr recruits Orange County and Coach Embree is the tight ends coach. I really liked Coach Embree a lot, he a very cool guy and Coach Kerr is nice and really down to earth. I liked all the coaches and like I said, UCLA definitely moved up on my list.
"Right now, I'm just trying to staying open and there is about 10 schools that I'm strongly considering. I want to take some unofficial visits in the summer to learn more about the schools outside of the west because right now, I really don't know much about any of them. I'm not sure exactly where I'll visit, maybe Ohio State, Nebraska, one of the Florida schools, maybe Notre Dame, I'm really not sure or even if I'll have time but I would like to do that for sure.
"As for making an early decision, I want to take a couple of official visits before I do that but if there is one school that just blows me away and I know it's right for me, I could commit before that. I'm looking for a school that is strong academically, has a great football program and somewhere that I'll feel comfortable and will fit in.
"From a football standpoint, I'm looking for a school that throws to the tight end a lot and a place where I can play early. It doesn't have to be as a true freshman or anything but I also don't want to go in to a situation where that school has two All-Americans at my positions that are just a year or so ahead of me. I don't mind competing but it is a factor. I also don't mind leaving the area but if everything was equal, I would definitely like to stay close to home if possible but that's if everything is equal, I have no problem leaving the area if a school is the best fit for me.
"Next up for me will be USC's Junior Day in April and I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. Mark jokes with me all the time about how I need to come and play with him and how we have four more years together in college. USC is a great place and I went to a bunch of games there last year but I'm really trying to stay open and give every school an equal shot right now."