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Griz add Wisconsin football transfer

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MISSOULA -

When the Montana Grizzlies beat North Dakota State 38-35 last August on ESPN, the broadcast ratings indicated that more than a million people tuned in to watch the only college football game played in America that day.

Somewhere in Madison, WI, the University of Wisconsin football team was part of the million watching Joey Counts run in the winning touchdown.

One of the Badgers was senior cornerback Tekeim “TJ” Reynard. Little did he know a year later, he’d be taking the field in Missoula, not Madison.

Montana head coach Bob Stitt on Friday announced the addition of former the Wisconsin cornerback to his incoming class.

Accepting a scholarship offer to play for the Griz in his final year of NCAA eligibility, Reynard arrives at Montana after three seasons with the Badgers, and one season at Independence Community College (Kan.) in 2012. He is the 33rd member of Coach Stitt’s 2016 recruiting class.

The 5-10, 170-pound cornerback hailing from Virginia Beach, Va., made 13 appearances during his three years at Camp Randall, seven as a sophomore in 2013, and six as a junior in 2014, before redshirting his senior season with a hamstring injury.

At Independence C.C. in 2012, Reynard was ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA, averaging 11.3 tackles per game, No. 13 with 56 solo tackles, and No. 18 in total tackles with 88, earning him looks from numerous FBS schools (including Colorado), before committing to Wisconsin.

He lettered at UW in 2013, making two tackles in his Badger debut against UMass, and having a breakout game against Tennessee Tech where he made six tackles and notched a pass break up.

With increased competition in 2014, he played in six games, but didn’t register in the stat book. When the hamstring injury sidelined him in 2015, Reynard began examining his options, and liked what he saw at Montana.

“Montana’s a great football program. It speaks for itself as far as being a powerhouse in FCS,” says Reynard. “Once they knew I was looking to transfer, coach Semore reached out to me, and I took a visit.

“The campus was beautiful, the scenery was beautiful, I knew the fans were great already, and I could just tell the atmosphere was one of a kind. It was breathtaking being out there.”

In high school, Reynard was a two-time first-team all-state selection, leading Greenbrier Christian to the state championship game his senior year. He racked up 3,348 rushing yards, and recorded 12 interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. He was also a four-year letter winner in Baseball.

“He’s a very athletic, two sport guy,” said Coach Stitt. “We really like him because he’s played at a very high level of football and he’s excited about being a big part of our defense. He’ll compete for a starting job, and at the very least just gives us unbelievable depth. He’s also a really good kid.”

An academic standout, Reynard took to the red carpet in Madison recently for the athletic department’s annual Buckingham awards, spotlighting Wisconsin student athletes’ success in the community and in the classroom. Reynard was honored with the Performance Award, recognizing student athletes for their constant improvement in the classroom.

Reynard will graduate from Wisconsin next week with a major in life sciences communication and a minor in digital media before enrolling in graduate school at UM.

He will now be one of two Montana cornerbacks with FBS experience, joining Markell Sanders, who played at Washington State.

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