Felder saw EKU in future before getting an offer

Published 2:41 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior defensive back Amri Felder signed a letter-of-intent with Eastern Kentucky University. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, mother Lori Andeson, Amari and father Bobby Felder; standing left to right, brother Walli Govina and grandfather Bruce Adams, . (Photo by Tim Gearhart)

By Jim Walker


It was deja vu all over again.

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Amari Felder signed a letter-of-intent to play football for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Wednesday on the national signing day, but the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior wide receiver, running back and defensive back was actually sold on EKU a couple of years ago.

“I like the location. I took a visit there my sophomore year and I don’t know what it was about it, but it just made me love it, said Felder.

Amari Felder

“As soon as I stepped on campus I said ‘this is home.’ I don’t know what about it made me love it. It felt like someplace I could see myself playing. I was excited.”

Felder talked with severvlschools including Morehead State, Fairmont State and several other Division 2 programs.

“I didn’t like all of them but I like Fairmont State a lot more than Morehead State, so narrowed it down to this three and then EKU came into the picture and I said ‘this is where I want to be,’” said Felder.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Felder was a Southeast All-District special mention as a defensive back, wide receiver and running back. Felder said the EKU staff is leaning toward the offensive side.

“I’ll probably be playing slot receiver a little bit and running back, kinda just athlete or anywhere. I’ll run routes out of the backfield a lot,” said Felder.

“They said they really wanted me and they really like me as the offensive player so they said I’d be playing slot receiver.”

So, does Felder have a favorite position?

“No, I don’t care. I just want to play football,” he said.

Before his senior year, Felder played his football at Huntington (W.Va.) High School. He said that move made the difference in his obtaining a scholarship from the Colonels.

“Amari is a kid who is just a hard worker so he’s easy to fit in to our system. He came in and messed well with our kids immediately He was here every day in the weight room,” said Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton.

“He worked extremely hard every chance he got and truly earned everything he got. He battled through some injuries so his stats weren’t as staggering as we anticipated, but ultimately his impact on the football game and on our team couldn’t be measured.”

Felder said moving from the less populated state of West Virginia to a football tradition rich state of Ohio presented a greater challenge that benefitted him.

“Ohio football is definitely different. There are a lot of athletes in Ohio on both sides of the ball. Ohio is a better state for football, honestly, and (Ohio) has a ton more people and more divisions,” said Felder.

Pendleton said Felder embraced the move to Ironton and that he immediately accepted how things were done and it is something that helped him get to Eastern Kentucky.

“With his work ethic and the way he handles adversity, I know he’s going down to EKU and have a great career,” said Pendleton.

Felder was a great addition to Ironton and helped the team reach the Division 5 state championship game. He said the entire season was a memorable experience.

“Canton Hall of Fame Stadium was a hostile environment. I loved it. I was glad I was able to make it this year. I was happy to experience it. We didn’t come out on top, but it was a great experience and I loved it,” said Felder.

With Ironton now in the rearview mirror, Felder is turning his sites on the future.

“Number one, obviously to get a free education which I’m being blessed with. I want to get my degree first and then when football comes along I just want to be the best I can be,” said Felder.