His oldest brother, Jordyn, is a sophomore safety on Marist College’s football team. Justyn, just a year older, will be a senior leader for Lambert’s lacrosse program this spring before taking on the same sport at Mercer University.
Needless to say, there’s been a lot of pressure on Jaryd Jean-Felix, a rising junior in Lambert’s lacrosse program, to continue the family precedent of becoming a Division I athlete.
Jaryd caught the attention of college lacrosse coaches this summer while competing in high school showcases in New York and Baltimore. Lambert coach Rich Wehman said that after his team upset some of the stronger programs from traditional lacrosse regions he was inundated with calls from college coaches about some of his younger players. Jaryd stood out enough to earn an offer from Rutgers University at the beginning of July.
After liking the campus on a visit two weeks ago, Jaryd committed to the Scarlet Knights via his Twitter account Thursday.
“Proud to say that I’ve verbally committed to play Division I lacrosse at Rutgers University!” he posted.
Justyn followed shortly after with a re-Tweet—as any brother would. That endorsement might have been more than a sign of brotherly love, but also assurance that there were no hard feelings about Jaryd deciding not to join his brother at Mercer in two years.
That’s because Jaryd also held an offer from the Bears.
“We joked about it a little bit,” Jaryd said. “But, it’s not a big deal. I knew he was going to be there, and it was always like, being his little brother, I wanted to do something to get on my own path, you know?”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Jaryd is putting family to the side—he said one of the benefits of playing in Piscataway, N.J., would be the relatively close proximity to Marist and his oldest brother.
It’s also, technically, his home.
“I was born in New York. That’s where my family lives,” Jaryd said. “My brother won’t be too far away. Hopefully I can visit Manhattan some too.”
Jaryd has more than one tie to Rutgers already. Lambert varsity assistant coach Rick Lewis graduated from Rutgers, and although he could tell Jaryd things about the campus, Jaryd made sure to get a look at the campus himself before he made a decision. He ended up liking it just as much.
“I really liked the campus and everything. Obviously, it being a Big Ten school now, that’s a plus,” Jaryd said.
Jaryd also held an offer from Hofstra, located in Garden City on Long Island, but eventually leaned toward Rutgers because of its conference. He likes the idea of playing against Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.
He said his commitment to the Rutgers program, which finished 5-10 last season, is hard.
“I’m completely sold on them,” Jaryd said.
Heading into his final few years of high school, Jaryd is happy to have his collegiate pursuit out of the way.
“It’s super competitive growing up in my household,” he said. “Having two brothers who are also Division I athletes, I can always ask them for advice and stuff like that. As the youngest and getting beat up on, you want to do better in sports. I’m proud to say I’m on their level now.”