This Bulldog is sprouting wings.
St. Clair senior Luke Feddersen will be flying south this fall after signing a letter of intent to play football at Southeast Missouri State University, where the mascot is the Redhawks.
Feddersen was a key part of a St. Clair offensive line that cleared the way for more than 3,800 rushing yards his junior year and another 3,000 rushing yards this past fall.
The offense at Southeast Missouri State will air the ball out more. The Redhawks passed for 3,835 yards in 2018.
“It’s going to be a big change because they (run) a lot of spread offense, but I think I’ll be able to step up to the challenge,” Feddersen said.
St. Clair tends to make it a signature of the team each season to have a thriving running game. This past fall, a veteran offense line featuring Feddersen and fellow seniors Tanner Durham, Bailey Smith and Ethan Talleur helped keep that tradition going, despite the team graduating two 1,500-yard rushers from the 2017 campaign.
“Luke’s been a three-year starter for us and an anchor,” St. Clair Head Coach Brian Robbins said. “He held down one side of the line. When he was a younger guy, we flipped him back and forth and ran behind him quite a bit. Some of those other kids have improved, so we didn’t have to flip him quite as much. We’re definitely going to miss him. Southeast Missouri State is going to get a good one.”
St. Clair went 27-15 during Feddersen’s four years on the roster and 17-5 during his final two seasons. Each of the last two years for the Bulldogs ended in the district semifinals.
“The atmosphere of high school games in St. Clair — there’s nothing like it. It’s a small town and you just know that everyone is there,” Feddersen said. “Coming out of the locker room at homecoming and seeing all the people was special. There weren’t many seats open. It was a very cool atmosphere.”
As far as his new campus, Feddersen said life further south will allow him to indulge another of his hobbies.
“They’re a big river school and I love fishing and going on the river,” he said.
Playing football is something Feddersen said he’s going to continue to enjoy while he can.
“Football is the one sport you can’t play the rest of your life,” he said. “You can always play pickup basketball games and baseball, but you can’t ever put pads on and play football the same way again.”
At 6-5, 260 pounds, Feddersen will be among the most sizeable members of the Redhawks roster in the fall under Head Coach Tom Matukewicz.
“They had a great year last year and it’s an up and coming program,” Robbins said. “We’re excited to send Southeast a good prospect. ... His upside is quite a bit and I’m looking forward to watching him progress over the next 3-5 years and hopefully he’ll make us all proud.”
The Redhawks have five incoming freshmen this season from the St. Louis area. Along with Feddersen, Southeast adds St. Mary’s wide receiver Jalen Bethany, St. Charles offensive lineman Logan Mesle, Jefferson running back Andrew Graves and Alton, Ill., linebacker Izeal Terrell.
The Southeast roster features 10 returning players from the St. Louis area, including sophomore running back Brayden Hull (Timberland), junior tight end Austin Crump (Eureka) and redshirt freshman tight end Caleb Strauss (Warrenton).
The Redhawks are slated to play 10 games this fall on ESPN+ and once on the SEC Network against the University of Missouri in Columbia on Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
The Redhawks are coming off a 9-4 campaign in 2018 with a 6-2 record in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Southeast will open the 2019 season at home against Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m.