RECRUIT UPDATE: Gee-Gees add international recruits Reynolds, Freslon

Posted: Mar 17, 2021

The Gee-Gees football program added some international flavour to their recruiting class with the addition of quarterback George Reynolds from London, England, and defensive lineman Kylian Freslon from Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire, France.
"I am very excited to add these two exceptional student-athletes to our program," said Gee-Gees head coach Marcel Bellefeuille. "These are quality people that will enhance both our program, and the Gee-Gees football community."
Reynolds is a member of the NFL UK Academy, which was established in 2019 as a pathway for athletes from the UK and Europe to North American collegiate football programs. The Academy is based out of North London, having over 80 students currently a part of the project. Along with studying and training as football players, there is also a focus placed on character development.
"You start realizing that you have to grow separate to what the norm is," Reynolds said of playing "gridiron" football in the UK. "There's guys at my academy who have the same ambitions and goals as me. I really grew into the sport and wanted to carry on with it."
Reynolds' father, Neil, works as a football analyst for Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. His father's career and attending NFL games played in London helped shift Reynold's athletic focus from soccer to football as a teenager.
"There was something about the sport that I loved so much more than anything else I'd done, and I knew it was right for me," explained the pivot. "I understood this was the game for me. Just because it's a small sport doesn't stop me from loving it."
Meeting a four-time Pro Bowler also motivated him to take football seriously.
Andrew Luck went to Great Britain to run a quarterback camp when Reynolds was 13 years old. Despite being too young to participate, he eagerly worked as a ball boy and got to rub shoulders with the former first-overall pick he considers his role model.
Reynolds' football accomplishments speak for themselves. He is the starting quarterback for Team Great Britain and was selected to take part in an NFL combine-style testing day in July 2019.
In January 2020, he was one of eight NFL academy players invited to attend the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla., taking part in skills challenges against top American high schoolers.
Although he'll be setting foot in Canada for the first time when he arrives in Ottawa for training camp in August, Reynolds says he liked what he saw from the university and his conversations with head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
"When I came into contact with Coach Marcel, there was an instant click," said Reynolds. "The football, the great school and the ambition to take things to the next level and be a winning team. For me, that was all I needed to know and wanted to join instantly."
Reynolds sees the University of Ottawa as another opportunity to climb the football ladder. That was his motivation for joining the NFL UK Academy and then setting his sights on schools in North America.
"I looked at North America as the goal for me," recalled Reynolds. "There was always the aspiration to go one step further. I always pursued the next level, whether that was the Great Britain National Team, the NFL Academy which I play for now, and then I started looking at college and university football."
Slated to study *****Communications, Reynolds will be one of the few Gee-Gees players who has experienced game action in recent months when he suits up for training camp. COVID-19 restrictions permitting, the NFL UK Academy team will play intra-squad games, and matchup against other football academies in Europe this spring.
Playing for an NFL academy, Reynolds' experience with Canadian football is limited, but he relishes the opportunity to learn the three-down game.
"It's going to be a big change for me, having grown up with four-down football," explained Reynolds. "Coach Marcel explained it really well – the motions, the wider field. I like to think of myself as being able to adapt to situations.
"It's going to be seen as a fun challenge for me. It's still football, so I have to make sure I focus. I'll get my head in the playbook, so when I get out there and compete, I'm making my reps count and proving I can be a good competitor for the team."
Reynolds isn't the only British-born player to suit up in Garnet and Grey in recent years. Notably, kicker Lewis Ward was born and raised in England before moving to Kingston, Ont. Ward finished third all-time in U SPORTS scoring when he graduated from uOttawa in 2017.
Meanwhile, Freslon joins the Gee-Gees from the other side of the English Channel by way of Cégep de Jonquière.
If a player from in a French community of 4,700 people five hours south of Paris ending up in U SPORTS seems unusual, consider this; Freslon took up football because he was looking for a new sport after his judo school closed.
Coming from a family of rugby players, Freslon settled into a position as offensive tackle and defensive end. He was spotted by the coaching staff of the Jonquière Gaillards, a powerhouse in the third division of the Quebec Cégep football.
The transition to North America was seamless for the 6'4", 250 lbs. Freslon, who was now focusing exclusively on playing on the defensive line. He recorded 12 tackles and three sacks in seven games while also serving as his team's punter during the 2019 season, helping them to a berth in the Bol d'Or championship game.
He quickly began receiving attention from university coaches, including uOttawa defensive coordinator Jean-Vincent Posy-Audette.
"When I met Jean-Vincent, I liked his philosophy," said Freslon. "A lot of people told me he's a really good coach. For me, the relationship [with the coaches] is more important than the campus or the facilities."
Ultimately, it was a virtual tour of the school with his mother that sealed it for Freslon.
"She doesn't really know football," he said with a chuckle. "I was in the meeting with my mother and Jean-Vincent, and they got along well. I think that's why she liked the university and she's behind me whenever I do something."