MARSHFIELD, Mass. — Reality hit Nolan Startzell last week when he signed a letter of intent to play football for Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire.
"I felt like I was now changing my mindset from playing in high school to college because I know how much more important it is in college than high school because the competition is so much higher," said the Scituate High School senior captain and renowned kicker.
SHS head football coach Herb Devine thinks the signing day was a "great accomplishment" for Nolan.
"He's been a great student athlete for four years at Scituate High School," Devine said. "All his hard work in the classroom, weight room, and on the field paid off for him."
Nolan started out playing soccer, according to his mother, Allison.
"He was a year-round soccer player for many years, playing town youth and club soccer with Mass City," she said.
He didn't start playing football until his freshman year; and excelled as a kicker.
In his sophomore year, Nolan was 50/56 on extra points and only missed three kicks; and the other three were blocked, he said.
"Junior year I had three field goals, two that were over the 40 yards."
It is not so surprising as Nolan comes from quite an athletic family.
Both of his parents were multi-sport Hall of Fame athletes in their own right, he said.
His father, Kennan, also started out with soccer before transitioning to football. He played football for Rutgers University when he was in college. Allison played soccer and softball at Keene State.
Nolan's older brother, Kennan, Jr., played football at Westfield State and set several kicking records.
Nolan always wanted to play in college, Allison said, like his father and older brother.
Nolan's father died in 2018.
After visiting a few schools that were looking at him, Nolan decided on Franklin Pierce University because he fell in love with the campus, and the coaches helped him get used to the college experience.
"The campus is nice and has a view of Mt. Monadnock and has a lake on it," he said.
Allison feels fortunate Nolan signed with Franklin Pierce because the recruiting process for the 2021 class was severely impacted by COVID.
"This is especially true at the Division 2 (which can give athletes scholarships) level because most programs had no season last fall and all the players got another year of eligibility, which meant not many roster spots were open for new recruits, never mind a kicker."
Fortunately, Nolan had a good amount of film from sophomore and junior seasons and impressed Coach Russell Gaskamp at Franklin Pierce, Allison said.
"He even told us at our meeting that he had no intentions on signing another kicker, but when he saw Nolan's films he said, 'I'm confident you are better than the two we have on the roster and can beat them out for the job.'"
Devine called Nolan, "a pleasure to coach."
"He is humble, works hard, and has unlimited potential at the collegiate level. Our coaching staff at Scituate is excited to see him continue his education and to compete on the football field at Franklin Pierce; this is well deserved."
Nolan is looking forward to being a successful kicker for Franklin Pierce, with a chance of getting a lot of recognition, he said. He also hopes to be a good student athlete and to get a job in business when he graduates.
"It means so much to me and my family to have this opportunity to play at a D2 (Division) school and carry on my family's long legacy of kickers," he said. "I just want to thank my coaches, teammates, and the Scituate gridiron for their overwhelming support over the years."
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