ARTHUR (WCIA) — Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond’s Kaden Feagin has found success ever since he stepped on a football field, but one person in his life has sacrificed and helped him off the field to achieve his dreams on it: His mom.

Behind every successful football player, there is a supportive mom. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond’s Kaden Feagin embodies that to a T.

“Her raising us, it was just her,” Kaden Feagin said.

Feagin’s father played football at Illinois and is in the Top 30 all-time in career rush yards, but a shared last name is as far as their relationship goes. The Illini commit and his two older brothers Jordan and Kyle were raised by their mom Jennifer.

“A single mom raising men, that’s a pretty hard thing to do,” Kaden said.

“Sometimes it was difficult, but most of the time it was rewarding and it was all of us in a family. In a bubble growing and living, I would do it a millions times over,” Jennifer Feagin said.

The family of four moved from Florida to Atwood, near Jennifer’s hometown of Hammond, when Kaden was 6. Between having enough food in the house for three growing boys, to balancing the sports schedules of three multi-sport athletes, the Feagin’s made it work.

“The coach let me run around and practice with them, so I think that helped a lot,” Kaden said.

“Actually you would go to practice with them before I got home from work so you would have somewhere to be,” Jennifer said.

But seeing his older brothers play for the Knights lit a fire inside the youngest Feagin.

“Definetly just going out to the field, watching my brothers growing up and then seeing them in high school and wanting to be like them,” Kaden said.

Once the running back stepped onto the varsity field his freshman season, he made an immediate impact playing both ways. He turned it into an all-state season as a senior this fall with 2,300 total yards and 37 touchdowns on offense to go along with 82 tackles and two interceptions defensively. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound 4-star prospect never left the field, leading the program to its first playoff win since 2013.

“This Senior year was definitely a big part of why we were so successful and won that playoff game,” ALAH head football coach Ryan Jefferson said.

Feagin began picking up offers his sophomore year, from power programs like Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa, but it’s that first offer from Illinois that won him over.

“I mean, home state,” Kaden said. “A lot of people from here don’t get to get an opportunity like that. Just to show people that it’s possible.”

And mom won’t be far behind.

“Bittersweet, that’s the best word,” Jennifer said. “I went through it before with the older two, I think we got even closer when they were gone because it was just him and I.”

Feagin has less than a month before he arrives for spring semester as an early enrollee, he’ll head to Champaign as ALAH’s first Division-I football player and the WCIA 3 Football Player of the Year.

WCIA 3 Football Player of the Year Winners:

2022: Kaden Feagin, ALAH

2021: Denim Cook, St. Teresa

2020 (21): Bryson Boes, Maroa-Forsyth

2019: Jacob Paradee, Central A&M

2018: Jacardia Wright, St. Teresa

2017: Mitch McNutt, GCMS

2016: Caleb Hanson, Monticello

2015: Wyatt Fishel, Arcola

2014: Jack Hockaday, Maroa-Forsyth

2013: Steve Isbell, CGB