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Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 4 - DL Michael Reynolds

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Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall:

Kansas junior Michael Reynolds eyes TCU's quarterback  Trevone Boykin (2) on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, during the teams' game in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas junior Michael Reynolds eyes TCU's quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, during the teams' game in Fort Worth, Texas. by Richard Gwin

No. 4: Michael Reynolds, Senior Buck

You can't help but get the feeling, when thinking about senior defensive lineman Michael Reynolds, that the past four years have all been building toward this one potentially masterful moment.

Reynolds, a Wichita native who arrived on campus with a ton of promise and potential but very little else, has taken baby steps forward as a football player and made major strides as a man. No longer the immature, goof-around-and-have-a-good-time talent, Reynolds now is determined to be a factor on a defense that stands to be pretty good. If he is — and if, in turn, the defense is — the Jayhawks will have many more chances to win games than they would have otherwise.

Reynolds is so crucial to this team because of the position he plays and the role that success there can have. KU coach Charlie Weis has said for a couple of years now that the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Reynolds has natural pass-rush skills. He showed that better than ever last season, when he finished with 37 tackles (10 for loss) and a team-best 6.5 sacks. More important than those numbers, however, Reynolds showed he was able to stay on the field for more than just obvious pass-rush situations and that helped shape him into a more complete player.

Add to that positive step the fact that he's being driven by senior urgency and has taken on more of a leadership role and it's easy to predict that this could be Reynolds' best season yet.

There are so many things to like about the way Reynolds plays the game. He's explosive. He's passionate. He has good hands and a great motor. And he carries himself with a ton of pride.

If he turns in his best statistical season and those other things continue to rub off on teammates, particularly along the D-Line, Reynolds could have as big of an impact on this team as just about any player in crimson and blue.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

No. 7 - DB Kevin Short

No. 6 - OL Larry Mazyck

No. 5 - Ben Heeney

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