Just four days before National Signing Day, Woodland senior football player Kurtis Feanny did not have any college scholarship offers.
Feanny had been a standout for Woodland the past four years, and put together an all-region and all-county season as a senior. However, he still went into his official visit at Lenoir-Rhyne over the weekend without an offer.
Finally, over dinner with coaches in Hickory, North Carolina, on Saturday, Feanny was handed the paperwork for the scholarship offer he had waited so long for.
On Wednesday morning, he made it official by signing his letter of intent after a ceremony in one of the Woodland High classrooms.
“I’ve been working all year and all high school, all my life to get to this part, go sign somewhere, get to play football at the next level,” Feanny said. “It feels good.”
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound lineman will likely switch over from the defensive side of the ball to play offensive guard for Lenoir-Rhyne, a Division-II program in the South?Atlantic Conference.
Feanny, the son of former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Maxwell Feanny, will play for the rival of his high school head coach Tony Plott’s alma mater, Catawba College.
“A kid like Kurtis, who has worked in our program for four years and worked so hard, ... he’s done things in the classroom he was supposed to do, he’s done things on the football field he’s supposed to do,” Plott said. “He’s taken care of his business, and for him to go on and have a chance to play at a school like Lenoir-Rhyne, it’s a great feeling.”
Feanny played as a freshman during an 0-10 season for the Wildcats, then started through 1-9 and 0-10 seasons at defensive end. While he was always a strong contributor on Woodland’s defense, the team’s lack of success and his own lack of recruitment was frustrating at times for Feanny, who said he had wanted to play college football since he began playing the sport when he was 8 years old.
“There were times where I would kind of doubt myself a little bit,” he said. “I was like, ‘Nothing’s coming in. I might have to walk on or something.’”
However, Feanny’s fortune turned around as a senior. Woodland showed significant progress as a program, winning three games, which was two more than Feanny had won in his first three years in high school.
Feanny himself had a much improved season as well. He registered 64 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and 14 quarterback pressures during his final year. He was named second team all-region, only getting outvoted by high-profile Division-I recruits at his position in a region that was remarkably talented on the defensive line.
Plott said Feanny’s senior year success was a product of an added sense of urgency.
“He’s always been a hard worker in the weight room. I think the change we saw is the extra work on the practice field. On Saturdays, he’d be up getting work in when no one else was around. And, after practice, he would stay after when everyone else was going home,” Plott said. “And then, the seriousness about him. His intensity level went up on Friday nights. That was fun to watch.”
Then, after the season, Feanny’s recruitment ramped up. It started slowly, with coaches reaching out and showing interest.
Still, though, he had not received the official offer until Saturday.
“It was really nice,” Feanny said of getting the offer. “We went out to dinner with the coaches. [The head coach] came to the table with the papers in his hand, ready to offer me right there.
“It was very nice to know that I have a chance now, after all that time without that.”