Practice Tour: C.J. Feagles

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. --- It's no surprise that North Carolina pledge C.J. Feagles will punt for Ridgewood High School this season. However, it might surpise some to see him line up at receiver on Friday nights.

"I think it would be fun [to see a significant role as a receiver]," Feagles said. "I like playing receiver; obviously I like punting more."

Although the receiving depth chart is still being ironed out through practice, Feagles, a 6-foot, 180-pounder, has the potential to be a major contributor as a receiving target.

"Last year he was very focused, but he was two years behind," Ridgewood head football coach Chuck Johnson said. "This year, he's matured tremendously; I think he's starting to realize what type of God given abilities he has. His hands – obviously he's got a great leg – but he's got one of the five best pair of hands that we've ever had out here. He just catches the football.

"He's learning his routes, the game has become very complex – he's working hard at it. He's coming. He's got a ways to go, yet. He's got a lot to learn. He's got a lot to work with."

Last year, Feagles, who joined the team after not playing football as a sophomore, was solely a punter for Ridgewood.

"I definitely won't be able to focus all on punting [this season]," Feagles said. "It will probably be harder this year since I'm going to have to play two or three downs while we have the ball and then I go kick it. It's going to be a lot different."

At punter, Feagles, who learned the trade from his father Jeff -- a 20-year NFL veteran currently punting for the New York Giants -- will continue to limit returns with both his accuracy and leg strength. But this fall, he has new motivation.

"Now that I committed, there is that pressure to prove that I really do deserve that scholarship," Feagles said. "I feel like I get more pressure from that than having my dad play in the NFL."

Outside of punting, Feagles wasn't expected to have any other specialist responsibilities. However, an injury will force Feagles to handle kickoff duties early on.

"We have a very good junior kicker," Johnson said. "Unfortunately he tore his labrum playing baseball, had an operation on it in May. He's out here kicking and punting, but he cannot have contact for another five weeks so C.J. will probably be the kickoff guy the first two weeks, also."

Since the field goal is pretty much a "dead ball," Johnson expects last year's kicker to resume that duty.

Despite his father's reputation as a place holder in the NFL, Feagles won't assume that job.

"We practice those two things simultaneously," Johnson said of punting and place kicking. "I'd rather he work [on punting] during that timeframe. Because all of our kicking specialists are also offensive and defensive players, we can only commit ten or 15 minutes a day to the skill part of the kicking series."

Although he's penciled in as the second string free safety in Ridgewood's 4-3, cover-3 defense, Feagles doesn't figure to see much time on defense.

"He's a little bit tentative on defense," Johnson said. "We've tried to give him one of the easiest positions on the field to play, which is free safety. All he has to do is sit back there, be an athlete [and] play football."

Ridgewood plays in arguably the best league in New Jersey. Last season they faced six playoff teams – four of which were listed in the top 20 in the state at some point during the season.

"As I did the last three years, I think we have the guys to get us there," Johnson said. "We've got to make the big plays when they occur. The last few years, we made a bunch of big plays, we just didn't make enough."

Ridgewood, which won back-to-back championships in 2003 and 2004, went 8-2, 6-4, and 7-4 the past three years.

C.J. Feagles Profile

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