Disabato: Lemont football finds itself in good hands with addition of All-Area wide receiver Flynn Nagel
By Pat Disabato email@example.com Twitter: @disabato August 13, 2014 8:36PM
Flynn Nagel of Lemount try to loose his defender in the 7on7. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times Media.
Updated: September 15, 2014 5:29PM
Bret Kooi knows a special football player when he sees one.
He coached Craig Duppong, Steve Walker, Jake Christensen, Nick Setta and Tony Pashos, among others, during a 17-year career at Lockport.
As offensive coordinator last season at Lincoln-Way North, Kooi was afforded the opportunity to see Julian Hylton, now at Illinois, up close and personal.
Running backs, quarterbacks, linemen, kickers, Kooi has coached some of the Southland’s most decorated talents.
You can add Flynn Nagel to the mix.
“Flynn’s the real deal,” said Kooi, beginning his first year as Lemont coach. “He’s special.”
Like $100 bills falling from the sky, the Mighty Flynn’s arrival to Lemont from Marist was unexpected — a stunner, if you will.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound receiver earned SouthtownStar All-Area honors last season, totaling 103 catches for an area-leading 1,488 yards and 18 touchdowns. A month or so after Marist suffered a heartbreaking loss to Naperville Central in the Class 8A semifinals in November, Nagel was enrolled at Lemont in time for the second semester.
“Financial hardship,” Nagel said when I asked him the reason for the transfer. “It was tough leaving all the guys at Marist. But they understand.”
So now he’s at Lemont, where older brothers Brett and Aaron starred before earning Division I scholarships to Northwestern.
Flynn’s late to the family party, but he’s ready to make up for lost time. The Indians are coming off a 3-6 season, their first subpar campaign in nine years. But with 15 returning starters, a new coach in Kooi and, of course, his own arrival, expectations are through the roof.
“I’m really excited,” Nagel said. “It’s been a smooth transition. I have a lot of friends here. Last year was a rough year here. A goal for me is get the team back on track and make it a powerhouse again. We’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”
Whether that ambition is realized remains up for debate, though I firmly believe Lemont is in for a big season.
What is not up for debate is that the Mighty Flynn is going to see plenty of time on the field and at multiple positions.
When you have a thoroughbred, in this case Nagel, you don’t pigeonhole him on one side of the ball. Kooi is well aware of this.
Talents like the Mighty Flynn don’t come around very often. He’ll play offense, defense and special teams. He may not line up in the secondary every play, but he’ll make appearances.
Despite being just 5-11, Nagel received scholarship offers from numerous Big Ten teams before choosing Duke. His recruitment is a testament to his abilities. If you’re a 5-11 receiver, you better have out-of-this-world skills to play D-I.
Nagel can run like the wind, boasts excellent hands and has the means to stretch a screen pass into a long touchdown. In football terminology, his YAC — yards after catch — ability is jaw-dropping.
“He’s something else,” said Jeremy Fejedelem, who will play safety at Lemont. “He can make the big play every time he catches the ball. He’s the best I’ve ever played against.”
High praise, indeed.
Nagel had the luxury of playing alongside former Marist receiver Nic Weishar, now at Notre Dame, for two seasons. There’s no denying Weishar’s presence was a benefit to Nagel — and vice versa. Having two stud receivers to game-plan against certainly is more difficult than going against one.
Kooi, however, is confident the Indians have talented players — Jimmy Kapouros and Jamie Glista, to name two — to allow Nagel to flourish. But even if Nagel is double-teamed, so what? The young man has the means to still get open.
“I truly feel we have some other weapons besides Flynn,” Kooi said. “Whether he’s double-teamed or not, we’re going to use him. When you have a talent like Flynn, you go to him.”
Every chance you get.