Josh Ferguson Makes Big Impression At UI Camp

It takes a lot to impress Illini coaches enough at a summer camp to earn a scholarship offer. After all, many top athletes are offered much earlier, and the UI has a long list of prospects at every position by summertime. But Josh Ferguson is an exception. The Joliet Catholic speedster made his presence felt both as a runner and receiver.

Joshua Ferguson is a small but quick running back at Joliet Catholic. He came to an Illinois one-day camp determined to earn a scholarship offer, and he was informed he had succeeded shortly afterward.

"I appreciate it a lot," Ferguson states. "It's my home team, so I'm looking forward to learning more about the school. See where it takes us."

Besides the Illini, he has received several scholarship offers. But this was his first from the Big 10.

"East Carolina, Memphis, Ball State, Ohio, Air Force, Oklahoma State, and Toledo."

With roots firmly in the Midwest, the Big 10 has an allure for the young speedster.

"I have, yes. I've been to a few Big 10 camps. I went to the Ohio State camp last year. I went to a Purdue camp a few weeks ago, and the UI."

The 5'-9", 170 pounder blazed to a 4.45 40 yard dash time at the Illinois camp. He enjoyed the experience but was hesitant to brag about his accomplishments.

"It went pretty well. I'm kind of modest, but I did pretty well. I ran a pretty good 40, ran pretty good routes, so I thought it went well considering I'm 90% from a previous injury."

Ferguson split time between receiver and running back at camp. He made a strong impression with both receiver coach Paul Petrino and running back coach DeAndre Smith.

"I talked to them, and they are interested in having me do both receiver and running back. So we'll see."

He described his abilites at both positions.

"I'm a quick guy. I'm pretty strong for my size. I can run up the middle, and I have some elusiveness. I guess I can do a little bit of everything.

"I played a little receiver in high school. They put me out at a receiver spot once in awhile. I do catch punts and kicks. I had four touchdowns on runbacks last year."

Joliet Catholic is a perennial power in high school football. Last year was no exception.

"We came in second in state in our division. We lost in the state final. (29-28 to Lombard Montini in Class 5A).

Ferguson expects nothing less this fall despite team youthfulness.

"We have a pretty young team, so we've got a lot of kids who are juniors and sophomore who are getting looks. In our backfield this fall, it's me and then a junior and sophomore. Our backfield is actually veterans, but we're pretty young."

What is he looking for in a college?

"Obviously an education. I want to play as soon as possible. I don't necessarily want to start as a freshman, but at least get on the field. And then later on become a starter.

"Other than that, I'm open to everything. Location is not that important. What counts is how much the coaches like me and have a position for me."

What are Ferguson's thoughts on the UI?

"Right now, we're just talking small talk type stuff. But I definitely want to get down there for a visit so we can talk more and I can learn more about their interest in me as a football player and as a student."

He prefers to make an early commitment.

"Hopefully within the first 2-3 games I want to make a decision."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories