Growing up in Montgomery County, Kevin McReynolds always thought he would play professional football one day.
McReynolds, a four-star recruit coming out of St. John’s College High School in the District, was a can’t miss NFL prospect.
During a stellar high school career competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, McReynolds was one of the nation’s most sought-after defensive linemen. He turned down numerous Division I college programs in order to sign with UCLA.
McReynolds chose the bright lights and big city life of Los Angeles after spending his entire childhood on the East Coast.
“I really enjoyed myself,” he said about his California experience. “The time I spent in LA I’ll never forget.”
However, after suffering two concussions before his sophomore campaign at UCLA, McReynolds was forced to think about other options. His dream of playing professional football at the highest level was derailed.
“I was able to think of other things and look at the bigger picture,” said McReynolds.
After working security jobs at various nightclubs around Los Angeles, the former Under Armour All-American got an idea.
“It just hit me,” said McReynolds, 23. “I wanted to do something bigger. I wanted to help people create experiences.”
So in 2013, the once highly-touted defensive lineman established McReynolds Enterprises LLC, a company that includes two subsidiaries, Highlyfe Entertainment and Highlyfe Xperience. The two related entertainment and travel companies both target college-aged students.
“I get to travel and do the things that I love,” said McReynolds. “I can travel around the world and see friends. It’s a lot of flexibility and I really love that.”
McReynolds, who graduated from UCLA last year with a B.S. degree in Political Science and Government, is now pursuing an MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. He plans to graduate from Reno next summer.
He has applied the skills learned from his experience on the gridiron to the business world.
“I used the system and didn’t let the system take advantage of me,” said McReynolds. “Because of my injury, it opened things up. I do something I love and my business is flourishing because of my relationships.”
As a youngster, the Kensington native bounced around several schools in the county including Rock View Elementary and Newport Mill Middle before landing at St. Catherine Laboure in Wheaton.
During his childhood, McReynolds played youth football in the Bethesda-based Maplewood Athletic Association and described that experience as “awesome.”
As one of the nation’s youngest CEO’s, McReynolds is passionate about his new business ventures. He shares a special bond with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, a fellow St. John’s graduate and Maplewood alumnus who was also raised in Montgomery County.
“I would love to follow in his footsteps,” said McReynolds, who has met Plank on several occasions. “He put good people around him and he was never afraid to take chances and I would love to be in his position someday.”