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Football: Flynn Nagel more than stands tall at Marist

Wide receiver Flynn Nagel is transferring from Marist Lemont. | File photo

Wide receiver Flynn Nagel is transferring from Marist to Lemont. | File photo

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Updated: December 7, 2013 6:28AM



In football, generally speaking, size does matter.

That’s why Flynn Nagel’s brothers recommended he choose a sport other than football in high school.

Nagel, a Lemont resident, was as skilled in baseball and wrestling as he was in football growing up.

But he was barely 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds entering his freshman year at Marist. Brothers Aaron and Brett both starred at Lemont and went on to play college ball at Northwestern. Another brother, Connor, was a linebacker at Lemont. Each stood taller than 6 feet during his playing days. So it wasn’t as if they were providing their younger brother with blind advice.

“My brothers always messed with me,” Flynn said. “They would say, ‘You’re the littlest one and you’re not going to go anywhere in football. Stick with baseball and wrestling.’ ”

Fortunately, the youngest Nagel didn’t heed his siblings’ advice. Instead, he used it as motivation. Now a junior, Nagel leads Southland receivers in catches (82), yards (1,301) and touchdowns (18) through Round 1 of the state playoffs.

And while he enjoys his status as the area’s top dog, his No. 1 priority is helping Marist to the Class 8A state championship. The RedHawks travel to undefeated Bolingbrook for a second-round tilt at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Stats only say so much about a player,” Nagel said. “There’s blocking, execution and making the play when it counts and the pressure is on. That’s what helps your team succeed.”

What Nagel lacks in size — he’s 5-11 — he more than makes up for in speed and skill.

Nagel boasts the type of speed that can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary whenever he gets his hands on the ball.

“He’s by far the fastest kid we’ve ever had. He has the explosion and speed to take it all the way (to the end zone),” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “He has big-play ability and a great work ethic.”

Nagel’s also very versatile. Beyond lining up at receiver, he also returns punts and kickoffs and plays safety.

It’s not by accident he’s flourishing in the RedHawks’ high-octane, spread-attack offense. In fact, it was a major factor in his decision to attend Marist and not follow in the footsteps of his older brothers who starred at Lemont.

“I was a running back growing up,” said Nagel, who played his youth football for the Lemont Hornets. “My dad and I were talking, like in seventh or eighth grade, about if I could potentially play college ball, what position would be best for me. We decided wide receiver would be best. That’s what influenced my decision to attend Marist. I shadowed at Marist and loved it.”

Nagel has received scholarship offers from Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, though he still has a year of high school remaining. He has yet to make a decision.

“First off, I’m looking at a college that offers a good education,” said Nagel, who intends to major in engineering or accounting. “I want a coaching staff who will have confidence to give me the ball and show what I can do.”



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