Saturday will be a day that University of Utah fans will get to say goodbye and thank you to one of the greatest defenders to ever strap on the drum and feather helmet.
While the 2013 season did not go as Trevor Reilly had preferred, you can expect him to give it his all with his blood, sweat, and tears. That is what he has done in his years in the program and it is not going to change now.
With the season winding down and the NFL in his future, the Utes' unquestioned leader reflected on the good, the bad, and always found a positive no matter the situation.
"I was very fortunate to have great coaches. I started out with Coach Pease at defensive line. I mean the name speaks for itself, he's all-time leader in sacks (by his defense) in the NFL. Kalani Sitake, he believed in me from the beginning, gave me a shot to play," Reilly said. "He recruited me and Coach Whit supported his decision (on my scholarship offer). I can't be more thankful to those guys for letting me play, I had four years of playing time and I've been really fortunate, personally."
Reilly has grown into one of the most dominating defenders in the Pac-12, but his team unfortunately has not matched his individual success. For Reilly-your ultimate team player-that has been difficult.
"It's been hard because the first three years (one as a redshirt) we made bowl games-the Poinsettia Bowl, Vegas Bowl, and then the Sun bowl," he said. "I only won one bowl game as a player. It's sucks. I feel really bad for the alumni, former players, and the fans that we couldn't pull through for them."
Despite the program's recent struggles, Reilly knows that they are so close to a break-through, they just need a few lucky bounces for a change.
"Remember, we almost won the (Pac-12 South) two years ago," said Reilly. "We were a field goal away from winning it against Colorado. So I mean, we've been there and honestly you think of all the games we've had (this year)-what? We've lost a combined four games by 20 points. Out of those four games, there were four plays that cost us, so if it would have gone the other way with four plays, we'd be talking about a different season this year."
In the Pac-12 you do not just win by being good, you need to get lucky, and also stay healthy.
"Everyone should know that this conference-I mean, the SEC West and the Pac-12, those are the two best conferences in the country, so I think they can expect great things.
One way to get there is starting with the quarterback position-a sensitive topic lately for fans, players, and coaches alike. During his time with the Utes they never started and finished a season with the same quarterback and he believes stability at that position will go a long ways.
Reilly is the type of player and individual that you only come across every so many years. Not only is he a team leader, he is an inspiration to his teammates, coaches, and fans.
How many guys blow out their knee during spring ball then choose to thrown on a brace and tough it out throughout an entire season? Not only did he fight through the pain, he was good enough to be Honorable-Mention Pac-12… on one good knee!
Reilly developed his toughness working for his family's rock company in Tijuana, but he credits his Utah coaches for two of the most important values he lives by.
"The biggest thing I've learned is to be accountable and be loyal-those are the two biggest things," said Reilly. "Be accountable for your position and your role, not only in football, but (also) in life. Then be loyal to your teammates, be loyal to your family, be loyal to those around you and good things will happen."
Wherever he lands in the NFL, that team is getting a quality player and quality individual. They will be getting a man that cares deeply about the game, his teammates, his coaches, and his community. They are getting a guy who does not care where he plays; he just wants to make a difference.
"I don't care, as long as they pay me, I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I'll give water out if they pay me-know what I mean?" he explained. "I'm one of those guys that I have no preference, I'm going to do whatever they ask me to do and do it with a smile on my face. When they say, 'Jump,' I'll say, 'How high?' that's going to be my style. When it's for money, man, it's a totally different game, I've got people depending on me."
As his final game comes to a close and he turns his attention to training for the upcoming draft, Reilly wants Ute nation to know just how special they are to him and his family.
"My biggest thing is I want to say thank you for all the prayers and support when my daughter got sick, I'll never forget that as long as I live and I'll always be loyal to the Utah program because of that," said Reilly.