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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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BYU quarterback Jake Heaps (9) fumbles the football as he is hit by Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly (49) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. (AP Photo/Colin E Braley)
Trevor Reilly recounts draft-day dash from the 17th hole to a phone charger

Trevor Reilly said he’d golf during the NFL Draft, and golf off he did.

Of course, he had his phone with him. Of course, he kept checking it.

The 26-year-old outside linebacker from the U. expected to be taken sooner, and the mental distraction affected his short game on the front nine last Saturday. On the back nine, he says, he started striking the ball better. But the frequent checks caused his phone to die on Hole 17, and then, in turn, his round.

Reilly drove his cart to the parking lot, speeding through another bewildered group who, "kind of looked at me weird, like ‘What are you doing?’" he told The Tribune by phone Saturday. "I just waved."

When he reached his car, he charged his phone and turned on XM Radio, and he and his brother waited in the Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., parking lot until the call came before the 233rd selection: He was a Jet.

"It was relieving," he said. "Totally relieving."

His wife, Jessica, had told him she had a gut feeling they were going to New York. When he hung up with the Jets, he talked first with her and then moved right on to making preparations — he still hasn’t spoken to his parents about the draft.

On Wednesday he signed a four-year deal worth an estimated $2.3 million. On Friday, with the opening of the Jets’ three-day minicamp, he got to work. A nice read in the New York Post said he was so eager to impress that he made "a little too much contact in a practice that was supposed to feature none."

All in all, Days One and Two have gone pretty well, he said.

"There were some bumps along the way. I’ve been learning the defense for a few days, but seeing the bullets fly is a little bit different for the first time. [Saturday] was a lot smoother for myself, I think."

Reilly — who hopes to someday land a job in sports radio or TV — said it was surreal to meet the infamous New York press for the first time. The hot topic in the Big Apple? That Reilly once devoured a big onion.

"Yeah, that just keeps coming up," he said. "No matter what I do in life, people are always going to remember me for that. It’s like committing a crime, it just keeps coming up."

Here’s three more questions (of varied relevance) from Ute fans Twitter:

"He’s a similar head coach to Coach Whittingham," Reilly said. "Defense first. Stop the run. Fly around the football, so there’s a lot of similarities, there’s a few differences, but I really enjoy it so far."

Reilly said Ryan is outgoing, funny and honest.

It’s too early to say exactly how he’ll fit into Ryan’s 3-4 scheme, he said, but "I’m assuming I’ll be able to rush the passer a little bit and drop [into coverage]. Probably a lot of what I did at Utah."

"When I was a kid we used Pert Plus, but whatever my wife buys me."

"That’s kind of a two-fold question for me. No. 1, what I remember as far as playing? I will remember beating Stanford. That was kind of a monumental win for Utah, being in the Pac-12, beating a top-5 program at home, so that would probably be No. 1 since we didn’t make a bowl game the last two years. That, along with winning the Sun Bowl my sophomore year.

"And then, as far as off-the-field stuff, I’ll remember the great support I got and the love and the prayers that everyone out there gave to my daughter when she was sick. That went a long ways for me and my family and I’ll always be a Utah Man because of that support."

In case you missed them, click here for some of Reilly’s pre-draft observations about this year’s Utes, the best team he’s faced and how he should’ve been a quarterback.

— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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