Much has changed in Flynn Nagel’s life since his junior football season five days before Thanksgiving.
He goes to a different school now.
And he’s hearing more from college coaches after a superb fall at Chicago Marist, which ended just shy of playing for a Class 8A state title when Marist lost an agonizingly close state semifinal game 27-21 to eventual state champion Naperville Central.
The Class of 2015 wide receiver now attends Lemont High School, the same suburban Chicago city in which he lives.
“It was nothing against Marist,” said Nagel, who counts Illinois among one of his seven offers. “It was a financial and personal decision for me and my family. We felt that we had to do it. I loved eveything about Marist and Coach (Pat) Dunne and all the players and teachers there. We felt Lemont would be a better option. I’m comfortable with all the guys there because I grew up with them.”
Nagel showed his comfort level with the high-octane offense the RedHawks operated last fall.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect hauled in 103 passes for 1,489 yards and 18 touchdowns last fall for Marist.
Lemont — which missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2003 — has a new coach in Bret Kooi, who won two 8A state titles coaching Lockport in 2002 and 2003 using a pass-happy offense.
So it seems Nagel, a three-star recruit, can replicate the numbers he put up last fall during the 2014 season.
The type of season he had with Marist helped raise his profile among some colleges. Illinois, Bowling Green, Indiana, Iowa State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois and Western Michigan also extending offers. Iowa State offered last week.
Nagel said he is staying in contact with Boston College, Duke, Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue, too, mainly via social media.
“There’s a lot of schools I’d like to go visit,” Nagel said. “I just want to see which school is the best fit for me. Stanford asked me if I could come to a camp this summer, and I don’t know if I can make it out there, but they said they’ll be at a game next season. I’m just going to see how it goes. If there’s a summer camp I need to go to, I will, but I did a ton last offseason, and I’m kind of camped out.”
Nagel remained coy about when he might make a decision.
“I don’t have a timeframe, but I’m definitely not going to (commit) within the next month and I won’t commit right next to signing day, either,” he said. “It may be right before the season or it may not be. Whenever I feel comfortable. With the schools that I have offers from right now, I really like my options.”
Comfort is a word that comes up often when Nagel discusses Tim Beckman’s program at Illinois.
He said he talks most often with Beckman, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and wide receivers coach Mike Bellamy.
“I like Illinois a lot,” he said. “I’m really, really comfortable with the coaching staff. Every time I get to go down there and talk to the coaching staff, it’s always a great talk. I’m just really comfortable with them. I like the fact that they have really good acounting and engineering programs, too, and I like that it’s close to home. I feel that the football team is defintely on the rise, too.”
If Nagel has a question about the recruiting process, he has ample resources he can turn to.
His teammate at Marist, tight end Nic Weishar, signed with Notre Dame in early February. And his three older brothers — Connor (Truman State), Brett (Northwestern, Truman State) and Aaron (Notre Dame, Northwestern) — all had their own recruitments within the past decade.
“Growing up, my goal has been to play in college because I remember, as early as fourth grade, watching my brothers go through it and having college coaches come into our house,” he said. “Now that I’m going through it, it’s a really great experience. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so you really get to seize the opportunity because it’s never going to happen again.”