Ohio athlete interested in BYU

There is a running back, tight end and inside linebacker at St. Clairsville High School in Ohio that will be a junior next season. Although he hasn't attended many camps, he already has two verbal offers, one from a BCS school. However, this 2014 prospect hopes another school in BYU will soon look his way.

Coming in at 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds, Michael Ferns loves playing football and it shows.

The 2014 prospect rushed the ball 31 times last season for 441 yards, and as a tight end he caught 17 passes for 267 yards. He scored about seven touchdowns on the season.

Although he plays many positions, linebacker is where Ferns is projected to play at the next level. During his sophomore year, Ferns racked up a gaudy 144 tackles, and 227 overall during his first two years. He also recorded four sacks and two forced fumbles.

"Well, I started out at the linebacker position my freshman year and I'm still there and will be throughout my career," Ferns said. "I played tight end last year but I couldn't name a specific as to which one I would prefer over the other.

"Last year was my first year playing both ways. Earlier in the season I was mostly a blocker, but as the season went on I became more involved in the offense and started running the ball. My first year I just played linebacker."

In evaluating Ferns' film, he moves very well for his size, and plays physical and well above his age. His on-field performance last year has already caught the attention of a few college recruiters.

"I've got two [verbal] offers from Virginia and Marshall," Ferns said. "I went to Ohio State and Penn State a week ago and Notre Dame came to look at me.

"Marshall [verbally] offered me about a month ago. I came home and my dad said, ‘Hey, I got a call and talked with Coach Peterson – the assistant head coach – and he said he would like to offer.' I haven't gone down there to visit them but I did watch a game when I was younger.

"Now with Virginia, I came in from a track meet and gave Chip West a call. He talked about the academics and the athletics of Virginia and how both are at a higher level."

While Ferns plays like an upperclassman on the football field, his approach to his future is also well above his years.

"I started looking at universities and I'm kind of looking for a university where, you know, academics plays a big part in the school," Ferns said. "We try and focus on academics and that's a big point for me, and that's something that has stood out to me about BYU. It's a big academic school, and on top of that they have a major football program, and so those two things really stood out to me. I'm trying to focus on a university that has great academics while playing football.

"I want to go to a college that fits me as a person and where I would feel at home. I want to go to a college where there are a lot of distractions off the field. For example, we went out to Penn State and it was a nice college town. I don't want to go to a college that's in a big city where there is a lot of rushing around and distractions."

Ferns is also attracted to BYU's standards.

"I know that a majority of the students at BYU are Mormons and that they expect a lot from their students," Ferns said. "I'm Catholic and I'm going to be confirmed here in a couple of weeks. I like to see myself as a person who does the right thing, and there are those type of kids that go out and party, but I just don't care for it. I go to church pretty much every Sunday and try to live by the standards of my faith. I'm a 4.0 student and try to do things right in the classroom and off the field. I've never touched a drop of alcohol in my life."

Ferns hopes to be able to make a trip out to Provo, Utah this summer.

"I would have to work around my track schedule," he said. "We have a relay track team that is the same team as last year and we went undefeated in state. I'm trying to fit everything in the month of June, so I'm definitely looking forward to trying to get out there for a summer camp."

While college coaches can't call prospective recruits until after September 1 of their junior year of high school, Ferns hopes that some coach from the BYU Cougar staff will look his way.

"I can't get calls from coaches right now because of the NCAA rules," said Ferns. "Everything has to go through sort of a loop with me because of my age, so coaches have to call my coach at school and then I can talk to them. I would love to know more about BYU and what the school has to offer. Hopefully I'll get in contact with a coach from BYU soon through my high school coach. I think that would be great."

Ferns plans on sending a copy of his 2011 highlights to the Cougar staff in hopes that they'll take further notice of him.


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