Up Close: C.J. Feagles

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. --- North Carolina's heir apparent to starting punter Terrence Brown didn't begin organized punting until approximately a year ago.

"I wasn't into it," Feagles said. "I played quarterback [as a freshman]; I was a backup. I wasn't really into punting."

Feagles quit football following his freshman season and took up golf.

However, Feagles continued to help his father, Jeff -- who punts for the New York Giants -- with his offseason workouts. During the spring prior to his junior year, Feagles' potential to follow in his father's footsteps began to be realized.

"I just kind of messed around with him and I saw I could kick pretty well," Feagles said. "He told me I should try it – same with my mom. They convinced me to play. I'm glad I did."

Thus, Feagles joined Ridgewood High School's football team.

"We had no expectations at all, other then we knew obviously he had great genes," Ridgewood head coach Chuck Johnson said.

Feagles, also, didn't know what to expect.

"I didn't know who the other punters were, if they were good or not," Feagles said. "… I remember the first day of practice, I kicked really badly. I was like ‘Oh God, I put in all this hard work over the summer.' But after we got into a couple of practices I realized that I was probably going to start."

Genes aren't the only thing Feagles' father has given him. Jeff has also provided him coaching from a 20-year NFL veteran punter since C.J. was able to hold a football.

"I would come out with him before I even started seriously punting," Feagles said. "I'd snap to him in the offseason. I took notes. I just learned from watching him. And then when I go out to kick, he'll toss me balls and he'll tell me what I'm doing wrong. He helps me stretch."

Johnson added, "With his dad, he has tremendous assets in terms of access to Giants Stadium, access to the bubble, access to tremendous coaching. His dad is not only a great punter, but his dad is a great punting coach."

The elder Feagles also coaches Ridgewood's specialists every Tuesday, the Giants' day off, during the football season.

Last season, the younger Feagles provided Ridgewood with a weapon in the field position battle.

"He is very accurate," Johnson said of C.J. "His dad is known as one of the best – if not the best – directional kicker in the history of the NFL. And C.J. has spent a ton of time with his father. He kicks the ball a country mile, but he also has tremendous accuracy."

According to Johnson, in 36 punts that Feagles kicked last year, only four were returned.

"The rest of [the 36] were either directioned away from kids or they were such moon shots that nobody could catch them," Johnson said. "He's a tremendous weapon that way."

The successful season prompted several schools to recruit Feagles. While many schools deemed him worthy of a scholarship offer, Feagles fell victim to timing, which most kickers face.

"If [a school] has a punter who's a junior, they don't need a punter – they're not going to scholarship two punters at the same time," Johnson said. "It's got to be right place, right time in the kicking area.

"Penn State was very interested; they weren't looking for a punter. Rutgers was very interested; they didn't need a punter. Boston College was very interested; they weren't sure what they were going to do. Syracuse didn't need a punter."

After attending a football combine at Rutgers, Feagles decided to camp at both Boston College and UNC, which his father arranged through his friendship with Butch Davis.

"My dad talked to Butch Davis and was just like ‘Hey, UNC is an awesome school, [Butch] wants to see you kick. They need a punter, so let's definitely go down there,'" Feagles recalled. "I prepared for a couple of weeks – I kicked every day."

During the camp, Feagles worked out by himself punting in front of various UNC coaches, including Butch Davis. Afterwards, Feagles and his father received an individual tour of the campus and lunch. During lunch, they were invited to meet with Davis in his office.

"[Davis] just said that I was a good athlete and obviously I have the genes, good form, good technique, and a strong leg," Feagles said. "And then he offered me."

Feagles was completely caught off guard by the proposition.

"I wasn't expecting it at all – especially a couple of hours after they saw me," Feagles said. "As I was there, I was expecting if they were going to [offer I would] fly home and then in the next couple of weeks maybe I'll get a call, but definitely not on the spot. I was so shocked."

With a trip to Boston College on the schedule, Feagles elected not to jump on the offer right away.

"I really liked it [and] I was definitely leaning towards it, but I wanted to still go to Boston College, because that's really a good school," Feagles said.

After returning home, however, Feagles talked to his family and friends and decided to cancel the trip to BC.

"I was just like, it's not even worth it," Feagles said. "I liked UNC that much."

Less than a week after attending UNC's camp, Feagles decided to verbally commit to UNC.

"Ever since I got home, I was pumped – I was so excited," Feagles said. "… My parents and I talked. They didn't tell me to go there, but my dad really liked it."

After committing, Davis asked Feagles when he wanted to take his official visit. While he hasn't scheduled anything yet, Feagles thinks that the weekend UNC hosts Notre Dame "would be pretty cool" for an official visit.

In the meantime, Feagles and his father have tickets to attend the UNC-Rutgers game in Piscataway, N.J. in two weeks.

C.J. Feagles Profile

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