Stehly Reden is a 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound athlete from Valley Center, California. He’s the younger brother of former cougar offensive lineman Garrett Reden.
Because of his brother playing offensive line and because Reden himself has played three years of varsity football in high school, it was assumed that he’d be playing offensive line while at BYU. That doesn’t appear to be the case, however.
There is no position group deeper than the offensive line for the 2011 BYU football team. Considering how deep they are, combined with the difficulties for any true freshman to play offensive lineman effectively without the benefit of a spring practice, Reden would likely have been riding the pine his first season.
He plans on playing a year and then leaving for a mission, so why not be switched to a position where he could contribute during his first year?
“I’ll be playing either defensive end or at tight end,” said Stehly Reden. “I was going to play wide receiver for my team this past year and started there until we gave up eight sacks and coaches switched me back to offensive line.”
BYU likely won’t have that same problem, and Reden will be able to compete hard at either position. With Mendenhall all but gushing about how excited he is about Reden’s prospects, chances are that Reden will be donning the white jersey of the defense come the fall practice session.
“I’m just excited to compete wherever they think I can help out most,” said Reden. “Everyone wants to play their first year, and playing tight end would be great, but playing defensive end, I’d love that opportunity too. We’ll see where they want me.”
Coaches have been prepping him for both positions through the workouts they sent him shortly following signing day. In following the workouts religiously, Reden has dropped a full 12 pounds and increased both his speed and agility.
“I was timed running a 4.75 forty last summer, but I feel – I know I’m faster than that now,” he related. “Just the other day, I ran a sprint against our team’s starting running back from last year, and I beat him.”
Reden will be arriving at BYU on June 20 and will immediately enroll in two block classes, which is something new that coaches are doing this year. The hope is to acclimate himself as quickly as possible to both the athletic and academic regimen at BYU.
He knows that he’ll be a bit behind his future teammates here locally that have been able to work out with the team since April 26, but he’s anxious to catch up.
“I’m working extremely hard and I simply can’t wait to get to BYU,” he said. “They finished the season very strong last year, so I think we’re going to be very good this coming year. I want to compete as hard as I can to earn a spot and play right away, hopefully.”
As mentioned, Reden has definite plans to serve a mission after his first year. Following that mission service, he may be switched back to offensive line or another position. Right now, however, he’s just focused on doing what he can for this year’s team.
“I talk to the coaches frequently and they keep me motivated, and I’m very excited to get there,” he said. “I can’t get there fast enough. I graduate on June 14th and I’ll get up and go down there as soon as possible. I love BYU and the chance I have to play at BYU and I want to make the most of it.”