Surprise is an understatement for Ridgewood (N.J.) 2017 punter Zach Feagles after a game-changing weekend in Central Jersey. One of the state's top special teams weapons, Feagles earned a verbal scholarship offer during the first Rutgers camp of the year.
Feagles and his father spoke with coach Chris Ash Friday, and returned to campus Saturday where he boomed the ball in a camp setting.
“Every time I go to Rutgers Stadium, whenever I'm on the field, I look up and it's huge,” Zach Feagles said. “It was a really awesome experience to kick there. … Before I'd never really had any offers. I was kind of waiting on something and when it happened, it didn't really hit me right away. Waking up this morning, 'wow, this is really an awesome feeling.'”
Feagles works Kohl's Kicking, where he ranks as the nation's seventh-best punter in the 2017 class. With family ties to Miami and an upcoming Michigan-led satellite camp in New Jersey, those are the next two recruiting stops for Feagles.
“Rutgers was my first stop for kicking for colleges,” he said. “This month of June, I'm going to a lot of colleges and going to their specialist camps to kick for them. I think my decision will be soon, though, hopefully this summer.”
Zach Feagles has perhaps the best possible mentor in his father Jeff Feagles, who holds multiple NFL records after 22 years in the league.
The scouting report on Zach Feagles, who is also an all-star lacrosse athlete for Ridgewood, is as follows.
“He's very powerful,” Jeff Feagles said. “I feel like where he's at now, he's pretty advanced. He has a good feel for the game and what he has to do at the position. He knows what to work on. He knows how to correct himself, which is important. He's getting stronger and smarter by the day. With another year of high-school football and another year of practice, I think he'll be able to compete for a college starting job.”
The relationship-building process began around National Signing Day and heated up during a spring-game visit to campus. Jeff Feagles brings decades of football experience, and plenty of time in New Jersey, and Ash got off to a good start.
“I'm really excited about what coach Ash is doing for the program,” Jeff Feagles said. “He's got a plan and his is to get some good football players and build up that football program. He certainly has support from the school, which is important. I like what I'm seeing and enjoyed getting to know the coaches over the last few months.
“... I feel like coach Ash is really trying to build a nice program down there and really want Jersey kids I the school. It's a great opportunity for Zach – Big Ten, one of the power five conferences and we're just really excited about the opportunity.”
Instead of a leg-up in recruiting, however, Zach Feagles sees his father as a challenge to prove himself – of course tips from an NFL great help too.
“I've been doing my best to not really use him as a way to get somewhere,” Zach Feagles said. “I've tried to do it all by myself and not to lean on my dad, but it is really good. I love having him as a mentor to look up to and to show me the ropes of the punting world and I do appreciate that a lot. I try not to use him as an excuse for my success. … It goes both ways. You can look at it both ways.”