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  • Staff photo by COREY PERRINE^^Nashua North's Kendall Reyes runs the ball downfield while being pursued by Nashua South's Nicholas Tognacci and teammate Ryan Dedonato following Thursday, Nov. 23 at Stellos Stadium. South defeated North 35-12.
  • Staff photo by COREY PERRINE^^Nashua North's Kendall Reyes runs the ball downfield while being pursued by Nashua South's Nicholas Tognacci and teammate Ryan Dedonato following Thursday, Nov. 23 at Stellos Stadium. South defeated North 35-12.
Friday, April 27, 2012

NFL Draft wait begins for Nashua North grad Kendall Reyes

NASHUA – The question came early Thursday, and it wasn’t going to be answered anytime soon.

Where is Kendall Reyes going?

Someone asked loud enough that it could be heard over the airwaves during WGAM’s “The Home Team” with Matt Perrault, as the show broadcast live Thursday at The Peddler’s Daughter in Nashua.

Perrault and his co-host, Justin Bastinelli, gave a chuckle, but no answer was forthcoming.

Despite the lack of a definite destination, the feeling in Nashua was mutual – wherever the former Nashua High School North and University of Connecticut standout ended up going, it was going to be huge for the Gate City.

“Cool.” “Awesome.” “Phenomenal.” “Fantastic.” The adjectives poured from the mouths of everyone who was asked for their opinion.

“I love to see people from Nashua do well,” said Bryan Bechard, a Nashua graduate and current resident.

After a stellar career at UConn and a great performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, Reyes had been projected as a possible second- or third-round draft pick, but there was a possibility that he could be selected late in the first round, which took place Thursday and concluded after press time.

If Reyes did end up as a first-round pick, the feeling among some draft experts – and barflies – was that the team taking him would be the New England Patriots.

“It’s awesome, just the prospect that he might go to the Pats because he’s a versatile player,” Bastinelli said. “That gives the player credit. If the Pats are going to take him, he must be up to their standard.”

While the thought of Reyes going to the hometown team in the first round excited people, most felt that would be a long shot, especially as rumors of the Patriots moving up in the draft swirled in the hours leading up to the first round.

At O’Brien’s Sports Bar, Chad Hathaway skimmed over his draft rankings to find that Reyes was listed as the 56th prospect in this year’s class. Tom Vaughan, a friend and member of Hathaway’s group, jokingly wondered how it was a guy from a Nashua public school going in the draft and not a guy from Bishop Guertin.

“I’ll be interested to see who he thanks,” Vaughan said. “A lot of guys say they owe their love of the game to their pee wee coaches or whoever got them started.”

Whenever he is drafted, Reyes will be the first player from Nashua taken in the NFL Draft since 1988. Hathaway thinks there haven’t been more players from the city and the state because of reputation.

“There’s a stigmatism that the athletes aren’t here,” he said. “This guy worked hard. He had to have to get this far. No matter what happens, it can only be good.”

Dave Manganello, the owner of The Sausage King, felt the same way.

“As people from Nashua, no matter how old you are, you should support that kid,” he said. “You should want the Patriots to get him. When was the last time someone famous from here did something? We should be proud.”

Another player with New England ties did get picked early in the first round. Luke Kuechly, a linebacker who played at Boston College, was taken ninth overall by the Carolina Panthers.