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Wideout receives Moss comparisons

June 2, 2008
By Philip Cmor,
Brandon Fedler’s favorite football player is Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.

That’s why Felder wears No. 11 at Oxon Hill High School. That’s why he hopes to wear that number at Penn State when he arrives on campus to play for the Nittany Lions in the fall of 2009. That’s who he patterns his game after.

Kevin Wolfolk, Felder’s high school coach, thinks it’s not the greatest comparison, though.

‘‘Larry Fitzgerald is built like a linebacker. Brandon doesn’t have that body type,’’ Wolfolk said. ‘‘His style of play is more similar to Randy Moss.’’

It might be the tall, lean build (Felder is 6-foot-3, 167 pounds), the 4.41 speed in the 40, the 35-inch vertical leap or the fact that Wolfolk uses Felder like Moss — Felder is often sent long and allowed to outjump defensive backs, resulting in a more than 23-yard-per-catch average and 11 touchdowns for Oxon Hill last fall.

‘‘I like going vertical down the field and jumping over the defender to get the ball,’’ Felder said.

Felder committed to the Nittany Lions last Tuesday over Maryland, Syracuse and Boston College. He said that night, though, that he felt committed to Penn State after a visit he’d made to University Park a few weeks ago — going public was more a formality.

‘‘I just wanted to be part of the Penn State tradition. I was impressed with the coaching staff and the excellent academics,’’ Felder, who also drew interest from West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan State, Baylor and SMU, said. ‘‘It [recruiting] was exciting, but I’m glad that it’s over.

‘‘[My family] is as excited as I am.’’

It was actually Felder’s family that got him into football and turned him into a receiver way back when he was 7 years old.

‘‘I always liked football, but my dad [Mark] introduced me to it. He gave me a ball and we’d play catch,’’ Felder said.

Felder always had his eye on another position.

‘‘I wanted to play running back,’’ Felder said, laughing, ‘‘but I was too skinny.’’

That was no problem at receiver for Felder, who is also a sprinter on the track team and likes to play basketball in his free time.

However, getting to the point that he could put up eye-catching statistics was more of an issue.

‘‘Last year, Brandon snuck up on the teams in our league. This year, we’re going to have to do some different things with him, because people know about him,’’ Wolfolk said. ‘‘This was my first year at Oxon Hill. I found out about Brandon from the track coaches. He was actually about to transfer. I don’t think he even played football his 10th grade year.’’

Wolfolk is bringing in a new receivers coach to work with Felder. The Clippers head coach has seen some good wideouts in his time, having been a teammate of Art Monk with the Washington Redskins in the early 90s.

‘‘Brandon’s a pure wide receiver,’’ said Wolfolk, who played for current Penn State offensive coordinator Galen Hall in arena football and is the cousin of former Nittany Lion running back Joel Coles. ‘‘His hands are phenomenal. He’s just such a natural. I’ve been around Prince George’s County football for 18 years, and I’ve never seen a kid with his ability.’’

Wolfolk describes Felder as a lighthearted kid, and that comes off in interviews. He laughs when he tells you that his favorite team, for reasons he can’t even understand, is the St. Louis Rams and jokes about going up against fellow Penn State recruit Stephon Morris.

Felder, though, didn’t grow up a Nittany Lion fan.

‘‘I’m sorry to say [Penn State] wasn’t [my favorite team],’’ Felder said sheepishly. ‘‘I liked the Miami Hurricanes. I grew up in Florida. We moved when I was about 5.’’

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