Like his five fellow Armwood signees, kicker/punter Nick Feely rose from his seat at the head table of the school auditorium Wednesday and went to the podium to deliver a short handwritten speech.
The fact he was able to walk to the podium without limping -- much less earn a scholarship to Air Force -- may have seemed astounding to some. Not Feely.
"My work ethic, my tenacity and having the support of my family and brothers and the entire football team, it pushed me to get here," Feely said.
The youngest of Tom Feely and Candace Cannon's six sons, Nick Feely's signing Wednesday came less than 3 1/2 years after a grotesque leg injury threatened to end his career. He was engaging in a tackling drill with Jesuit's JV team four autumns ago when his left leg gave way beneath him.
According to Tom Feely, he broke his left tibia and fibula, left ankle, and nearly every bone in his left foot. An ensuing surgery by Dr. Anthony Infante took 15 hours, during which two large plates and about 18 screws were inserted to stabilize the broken bones.
Two seasons later, Nick booted a pair of 50-yard field goals in Armwood's first preseason practice. This past season, he averaged 45.2 yards per punt, recorded 28 touchbacks, and kicked eight field goals and 31 PATs.
"At my worst moment we always knew I would overcome it some way," said Nick Feely, who owns a 4.8 weighted GPA and hopes to study aeronautical engineering. "Infante would always help us out. We always had people that would help us out any time we had any problems, and we knew we'd get here."