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From walk-on, to record-setting quarterback: Charlotte 49ers' Chris Reynolds keeps fighting

He had no Division I or II offers coming out of high school. Now, he's on a bigger stage.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds just seems like one of those players that have been around forever.

"After games, they're like, 'you're still here?" Reynolds said. "It's crazy how fast time flies."

Reynolds is in his fourth season as the Niners starting QB but he's been on campus for five years and could come back next year, too.

In his time, he's authored some of the greatest moments in 49ers history.

In 2019, he tossed up a touchdown pass to Victor Tucker to clinch the program's first-ever bowl berth.

This year Reynolds became the program's all-time leader in passing yards (currently 6,579) and touchdowns (currently 52).

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"I mean if you would have told me in 2016 'Hey Chris you're going to walk on to the Charlotte 49ers and be the record-setting quarterback,' I would have said, 'OK, but slow down I've got to earn my keep first,'" Reynolds said.

No one has earned their keep more than Reynolds. 

A 5-foot-11 kid from Davie County he didn't have a single Division 1 offer.

"Not a Division II offer, either," he said. "It's like OK. Give me an opportunity somewhere. I just want an opportunity."

Former coach Brad Lambert had Reynolds walk onto the program in 2017 and he turned heads running the practice squad.

"I just gave it everything I had every single day," Reynolds said. "Some people look at scout team as 'dang it, I've got to redshirt and play scout team'. For me as a walk-on, I was like this is my opportunity."

And when current coach Will Healy got to town he couldn't keep Reynolds, by then on scholarship, off the field.

Reynolds did not start the first game of the Healy era against Gardner-Webb, but he finished it.

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"This little dude runs in and leads on two-straight scoring drives and you could see the body language change when he walked into the huddle," Healy said. "That was the point for me where it was like this guy is not going to be beat out."

Since then Reynolds has accumulated over 60 total touchdowns and 7,300 total yards and now hopes to guide the Niners (4-4) to their second-ever bowl berth.

"You're amazed by some of the plays he makes," Healy said. "He's an unbelievable football player."

He's also tough.

This week Reynolds is dealing with a hand injury that caused him the rare missed game last Saturday. 

He said he feels good and hopes to play when Charlotte hosts Rice for homecoming on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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On the first play of last season, he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder and played the rest of the year.

That walk-on mentality never left him.

"You were doubted at one point. Somebody told you, you weren't good enough, somebody told you were too small," he said. "I think people who have that walk-on mentality, they fight. Every single day. They want to prove people wrong that said you couldn't do things, you're not good enough. It doesn't leave."

Reynolds will have to leave eventually. But despite being a redshirt senior, he can still return next year because of NCAA COVID-19 eligibility rule changes.

Will Healy wants him to. Fans that have shown up in droves to Charlotte games want it too. 

He hasn't made a decision yet, but he's thinking about it.

"Because I love this school. I love this fanbase, they've done so much for me," Reynolds said. "That's the most special part of this place, the relationships you build. It's a special environment. I don't know why you wouldn't want to come here."

Contact Nick Carboni at ncarboni@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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