Big Hit a Big Confidence Builder for Ferguson

Auburn sophomore safety Lorenzo Ferguson talks about his coming out party last week at Mississippi State and preparing for LSU.

Auburn, Ala.--A hit on Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon was all it took for Auburn sophomore safety Lorenzo Ferguson to get that old feeling back.

Injuries in high school and once he arrived at Auburn kept him from being 100 percent for the better part of two years, but now the physical safety is ready to show what he can do.

"It was fun," Ferguson says. "I haven't played on defense in a long time--since I left high school. It felt weird for a minute, but I started to get the feeling back. I felt more comfortable out there. That (hit) just made me feel more comfortable when I hit that dude."

Ferguson lays the lumber to Dixon.

Finally back to full speed after suffering for two years with a broken bone in his leg that just wouldn't allow him to run full speed, Ferguson was poised to get into the playing rotation this fall. That is until a shoulder injury sidelined him during preseason practice. Still bothered by it heading into the opener, Ferguson says that he was held out against Washington State and he was determined that would be the last time that would happen.

"In that first game I was afraid because I'm always reaching out with my arm so much," Ferguson says. "I was afraid a lot. That's why Coach (Will) Muschamp didn't put me in that first game.

"It has been tough," he adds. "Sometimes I would be downing myself that I need to stay healthy. I had been trying to avoid hits and stuff but when I avoid it that's when I get hurt. The whole two-a-days I was frustrated and then I got hurt. I came out loafing and I got hurt. I popped my shoulder."

Last week against Mississippi State everything fell into place for the 6-2, 208 Ferguson on defense. In for his first series, Ferguson flew to the ball and found big Dixon heading his way. Bracing himself Ferguson stopped the freshman in his tracks and in the process found out he was finally ready to play some football.

"It gave me a lot of confidence," Ferguson says. "I didn't know I was going to hit him like that. I just threw my body into him. Then I hit the receiver on the next play. I feel a lot more comfortable out there."

An All-State performer from Miami who originally committed to LSU, Ferguson ended up at Auburn after LSU told him to wait until January to enroll his freshman season. Deciding he didn't want that, Ferguson looked at Rutgers and Auburn before deciding on the Tigers. He says that this week is a special one for him facing LSU while also playing an important role on Auburn's defense.

"I know a lot of dudes over there from Miami," Ferguson says. "I feel good out there. It will probably be about the second quarter when I get in because he wants to see what they're doing out there (LSU's offense). Then he'll start rotating the safeties.

"It's going to be pretty exciting Saturday," he adds. "I know I'm going to be high off the ground Saturday. Coach said I'm going to get a lot of playing time this Saturday. LSU throws a lot of vertical routes so I'm going to have to stick some of the receivers. It's going to be fun."

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