Thomas Ferguson took an official visit to Manhattan this past weekend as one many other potential prospects for Kansa s State, evaluating what KSU had to offer and what playing in Manhattan might be like. All it took was a visit to the film room for Ferguson to know where he wanted to spend his next four years playing football, and that was the first day of the visit. Keep this in mind because it plays into the story later.
"Yes sir, I knew right then this was the place for me. They showed us some film from last year and the new defensive scheme they are going to play and how I would be used and how the defense would be played there and that was it. I knew right then this was it, this was the place for me. I wanted to be a part of that," Thomas told KStateFans.
Courted by schools across the country like Auburn and Arizona and holding offers from schools right here in the Big 12 like Oklahoma and Kansas, just getting an offer from Coach Snyder and the Cats was something of an ordeal.
"Actually it is kind of a funny story, that last day I was there I still did not have an offer. I kept telling myself you got to be patient, you got to hang in there and I really thought it was over. Then Coach Snyder brought me into his office with my parents and he just looked at me and asked me if I wanted to join them and I just smiled. I sat there a bit and then I just told him:' I would like to wear Purple.' My Mom started crying but they were real happy. She looked at me and just said:' Guess we are going to have to go buy some Purple," Ferguson said.
Although he thought he was going to have to leave K-State to get an offer, Ferguson says it was the wait that was killing him the most.
"Actually I was getting a little mad. It seemed all these other kids were getting those offers and I wanted one. I wanted to be a part of this program and play for Coach Snyder and be a Cat you know? I really had to just be patient but it was hard."
Once committed, Head Coach Bill Snyder was sure to let Thomas Ferguson know how much he is wanted in Manhattan and took a trip out to his High School on Wednesday to meet with him and his coach personally.
"Coach Snyder came down yesterday to my school just to say hello and talk a little bit with my coach. But yea, he came to see me but I had track practice and all."
This past season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Ferguson had 66 tackles, eight pass break-ups, and a sack. Getting to Manhattan, the coaching staff stripped everyone of their shoes and weighed them in and Thomas says he came in at :" I was right at 6-foot and 208 pounds. They had my forty time right though, it's a 4.5 last year and at least they did not make us run any forties," Thomas said chuckling.
Thomas primarily played safety as a junior and although he said that a few programs recruited him to be flexible on what position he plays, the Cats will play him exclusively at the Cat Safety or Strong Safety position.
"I talked with the coaches and the just told me that there is a possibility that I can come in and play, that they are low of safeties and that they need someone to come in and play. I just took that on myself as hey, there is the possibility to come in and play but you have to work to get that spot. They told me that I will play their 'Cat Safety' spot (Strong Safety) but I got to come in bigger and stronger. I am strong for high school, but not college, no way those college boys are big and strong. I have work to do and I need to work on getting my feet quicker. and take some time to get bigger. I am running track this year so my feet will get quicker and I am just going to work to get where I need to get. They did not say I could play, they just said there is a possibility for me to play. That is on me to get there," an excited Ferguson stated.
Ferguson who will run track all season just to get in shape for football season, is already hard at work on getting in better academic shape - just because he can, not because he needs to.
"I have a 2.92 core gpa and I scored a 780 on my SAT. So academically, I am already good to go there but I took that SAT my sophomore year but I can do better. I am going to take the SAT again this Saturday, I know I can do better than that."
With Ferguson's verbal already in the bag, coach Snyder and the Cats have turned their attention to other South Grand Prairie prospects and fellow teammates of Thomas' in WR Dewayne Peace, and DE Joey Searce .
Asked about Peace, Ferguson had this to say about his teammate;" We are brothers. he is not my teammate, he is like my brother. We have known each other since we were 5 years old and have always talked about playing together.
KStateFans spoke briefly with Dewayne last night about the possibility of playing with Thomas at Kansas State: "Yea that would be really cool to play with him. I would like that," said Peace.
As if there was not enough to already like about Thomas Ferguson, he gave fans of Kansas State one more reason.
"Hey I want to let those fans know that when I get there, I am going to do my best. I am going to do everything I can to represent Kansas State the way it should be, on the field and off the field. I am going to play and work to the fullest of my abilities. I want to represent Kansas State the way it should be represented and be what the school is all about and what it stands for and is all about. Tell them that I am going to work real hard to do that and set that goal."
Asked if he was taking any further trips or had anything else lined up before signing day, Ferguson just laughed a bit and stated simply: "Done! No Need."
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