Season Wrapup: C.J. Feagles

Throughout its 8-3 season, which ended in the state playoffs semifinals, Ridgewood (N.J.) High had an unmatched weapon each contest in the battle for field position – C.J. Feagles.

"A lot of times, the returner was in a situation where I'm kicking from the 50-yard line in," Feagles said. "Most of the time, I wouldn't directionally kick it – I would try to kick it as high as I can. A lot of times, it would just hit their hands and they would just drop it… We were more of a protection team – we didn't have any gunners. So [if the guy didn't drop it] either the guy fair caught it or we'd be down there to make the tackle."

Feagles, who was named to the all-county team, posted a 38-yard punting average on the year. However, the 6-foot, 180-pounder, prided himself on a statistic not found in the box score – hang time.

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"I've always been more of a hang time guy," Feagles said. "I kick for more hang time than I do for distance… Normally when I'm standing on the 50-yard line, I'm usually able to get it up there pretty high and [the returner] usually fair catches it."

Feagles says on a typical punt, he'll boot the ball roughly 40 yards, but will have an average hang time of four seconds.

Feagles can "directional" punt with exceptional accuracy. However, he was rarely asked to do so for Ridgewood.

"My coach usually didn't want me to [directional punt] because the formation we used, [when I directional punt] I would normally step right into the rush," Feagles said. "Last year, I did that a couple of times and it got blocked once or twice."

In addition to punting, Feagles practiced at safety and wide receiver. However, he only saw game action at receiver.

"We usually rotate three wide receivers in," Feagles said. "Each person goes in for one play."

Feagles ended the season with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Due to the relationship with Feagles' father, Jeff, who punts for the New York Giants, Butch Davis handled Feagles' recruitment up until his verbal commitment. Since that point, Steve Hagen and John Lovett have served as Feagles' recruiting contacts.

Lovett visited Feagles at his home Wednesday evening.

"He came over really to just clear up any questions my family and I had," Feagles said. "We discussed what I'm going to do for my official, what they plan on having me do there, and when I'm going to come down to start my summer classes."

Feagles and Lovett settled on the weekend of Jan. 16 as his official visit date.

Lovett, who serves as UNC's special teams coordinator, also discussed UNC's punting situation, which is now vacant by the graduation of Terrence Brown.

"He said I would be competing for the starting job with [walk-on Grant Schallock]," Feagles said.

"He said the reason Terrence was so successful was because he was really good at directionally kicking the ball. And he was telling me how Grant has a really strong leg – probably stronger than Terrence's. But Coach Davis just loves all that directional stuff and that really helped out Terrence out."

***

Feagles earned a special postseason recognition by being selected to the U.S. Army All-American Game, the nation's most prestigious all-star event.

"That was a great honor," said Feagles, who didn't begun punting until after his sophomore season of high school.

He drew high praise from scouts for his directional punting and hang time during the practice week in San Antonio. And, for Feagles, it was his first opportunity to see how he stacked up against the nation's best.

"It was the first time I got to see in person the No. 1 ranked punter in the country, which was the guy on the other team (Jackson Rice). It was cool to be able to compare myself to him. I've never been around any punters at my level because I never went to camps or any of that because I'd usually just have my dad help me, so there was no point to go to camps for instruction."

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