Connor Reilly is Temple’s only two-sport athlete.
Baseball has always been a passion for Temple’s only two-sport athlete, sophomore Connor Reilly, but football is a sport that he developed both recently and quickly.
Reilly, a quarterback for the Owls in the fall season also plays a role on the baseball team as an outfielder, first baseman and catcher who recently entered his first season with the team.
“I was not aware that I was the only two-sport athlete at Temple,” Reilly said. “It is a lot of work but it is truly a blessing.”
Reilly was born into a baseball family, as his father, Neil Reilly, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 28th round of the 1984 Major League Baseball draft.
“I grew up with soccer and baseball,” Reilly said. “My mom got me into playing football and I only began to play in high school.”
Due to a conjoining football season, Reilly recently joined the baseball team in the spring.
The Fairfax, Va. native has already made an impact on the diamond. Reilly currently has a .303 batting average, which is sixth best in the lineup, and eight RBIs.
On Feb. 24 against North Carolina A&T, Reilly hit a three-run homerun in the third inning. The Owls went onto win the game 13-9.
“It was great to have my first collegiate hit and homerun come in the same at bat,” Reilly said.
“[Reilly] is a great young man,” baseball coach Ryan Wheeler said. “He is always smiling and eager to be there at practice.”
Wheeler added that Reilly provides depth at the outfield, first base and at catcher positions.
“I have seen constant improvement from [Reilly],” Wheeler said. “He continues to get better with each day.”
As a quarterback for the Owls, Wheeler noticed Connor’s strong arm from day one.
“He does not throw like a baseball player, but has a very strong arm,” Wheeler said.
A quarterback’s motion is different from that of a baseball player and Wheeler said Reilly occasionally reverts back to the quarterback motion.
“[Reilly] is a great athlete with good size and is very strong,” Wheeler said. “We hope to see that he continues to improve as he was not with us in the fall.”
Because of the focus on the football season, Reilly was unable to prepare for the baseball season in the fall unlike the rest of his teammates on the baseball team.
Wheeler has taken notice of Reilly’s hard work ethic and positive attitude that he brings to the field each day.
“[Reilly’s] work ethic seems to improve those around him,” Wheeler said. “I could see him [Reilly] as a leader of this team in the future.”
When Reilly is not playing baseball, he spends his time preparing for the football season.
In the 2011-12 season, Reilly played quarterback in three games for the Owls. He made his collegiate football debut at Akron, and saw playing time in games against Buffalo and Ball State, all of which resulted in wins for Temple.
“[Reilly] is a very talented guy,” said former co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Matt Rhule.
When Reilly was not on the field, he spent his time signaling calls to the quarterback on the field.
“He signaled in wristband calls to the quarterback, up to 300 calls per game,” Rhule said.
Reilly, who will be entering his junior year at Temple in Fall 2012, will be inserted into a competition for the quarterback position.
“There will be an open competition between the quarterbacks on our squad this season and we are not set on one guy yet,” Rhule said.
“I am sure he will try to find a way to get out on the field this coming season,” Rhule added. “He is a very talented athlete between football and baseball.”
When the Owl’s football season ended with a bowl victory against Wyoming in The Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the baseball season began for Reilly. Once the baseball season ends for the Cherry and the White, the 2012-13 football season will begin for Reilly.
“I always need to maintain strength for both baseball and football,” Reilly said. “ I have absolutely no time for any social activity. It is a lot of work but it is truly a blessing.”
John Murrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.