Dominic (Nick) Lowery, 22, of McLean is not your typical St. Albans prep school alumnus.

As the son of a former Central Intelligence Agency official and a scholar, he fits the St. Albans tradition. But as the institution's first graduate to sign with a professional football team, he is indeed rare.

"Well, St. Albans is definitely not a football factory," Lowery said, "but it is a unique privilege being a graduate."

Two weeks ago Lowery, a graduate of Dartmouth College, stepped into the New York Jet training camp as a free agent with his toe ready to compete against pat Leahy for the place-kicking job.

"The Jets are only going to keep one punter and one kicker. Pat and I are the only kickers - so I have to beat him out," Lowery said.

Trying to displace the four-year veteran may be tougher then Lowery anticipates but he remains optimistic.

"To beat Leahy I have to clearly do better, but I have been kicking off better so it's hard to tell."

Against the New York Giants last week he made two of three extrapoint attempts.

Although Lowery and Leahy are head-to-head competitors, they get along well. "Pat is a great guy. We are alike in many ways. We have the same sense of humor and he has been very helpful with me," the rookie said.

Should Lowery not make the Jets this year, he says he will try to make it with some team within the next few years.

Lowery attended Dartmouth on an academic scholarship and has more than pro football on his mind. He majored in government and graduate with a B average.

"If I don't make it in football then I may go to law school. I'm not sure, but I know I definitely will be playing music."

Lowery, a drummer, enjoys jazz and soft rock the most. One reason he chose the Jets is they play in New York City.

"I was contacted by the Jets and Cleveland (Browns). I chose New York because Cleveland is not exactly the cultural center of the world," Lowery said. "At Dartmouth I was involved in music and drama, and I hope to pursue both some more."

Reflecting on professional football training camp, Lowery said, "Well, it's not like "Paper Lion," but it's tough."

"The veterans don't give us much of a problem here. Recently I walked into a meeting a little late and they asked, 'Were you always late at Dartmouth?' They kid around, but there are strict disciplinarians here, too."

According to Lowery there is a long list of fines for almost everything imaginable. The team has an 11 p.m. curfew and room check, Lowery said, "They don't come in at 11 o'clock but they are in by 11:10."

A typical training day for Lowery begins at 7:15 a.m. and ends after a 7 p.m. meeting. "The difference between college practice and the pros is not much for me because I am a place kicker," he said. "I didn't have much coaching in college and I only have a couple hours practice now. But the coaching is naturally better."

At the end of a hard day, Lowery said he and other team members go to the "Salty Dog" for a drink. "There's not much to do in Hempstead."