Prior to transferring to Hargrave this season, J.R. Ferguson made a name for himself on the gridiron last season at St. Johns Catholic Prep racking up 97 tackles, 32 TFLs, and 14 sacks. This season his performance has been much of the same as he tallied nearly 100 tackles and over 10 sacks playing at the top prep school in America.
Those numbers combined with Ferguson’s size and commitment to wanting to be the best have left college coaches salivating over the thought of his signature. The four-star prospect and Scout.com’s No. 13-rated defensive end holds offers from programs ranging from every corner of the country. However, Ferguson can pick just one.
TigerSportsDigest.com caught up with the 6-foot-4, 270-pound prospect for an update as he is home for the Thanksgiving break.
“I’m doing really good,” Ferguson expressed. “I’m mostly focused on my books right now since the season is over. Everything is in line for me to graduate (May) and that’s what I’m working on.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Ferguson commented on the finale of his prep football career. “I’m still living on our last game of the season to be honest with you. We fought until we couldn’t fight any more in that game. I just wish we could’ve come out with the win.”
Ferguson has also shifted some of his focus on recruiting. He has cut his favorites list down by more than half and amazingly enough that still leaves him with nearly a dozen.
“Recruiting is still the same with me,” Ferguson confirmed. “I still have my top 10 list. In no order I’m considering, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, LSU, Miami, Florida State, Maryland, UCLA, California, North Carolina and South Carolina.”
Ferguson just returned home from Notre Dame on Monday evening. The official visit marked his second following an official earlier in the year to LSU. He said both visits opened his eyes.
Charlie Weis came under fire last year and some felt that there was a chance he would not be retained for the 2009 season. He did return but now there are even more questions looming about his future in South Bend as the Fighting Irish sit at 6-5 heading into the season finale at Stanford on Saturday.
“I just got back from Notre Dame,” Ferguson confirmed. “The education they offer there is second to none. Even though they lost I saw how those players didn’t give up. They fought until the end. I also saw some stuff I’ve never seen before like the pep rally, the players walk from mass to the stadium.”
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“I also liked the coaches there, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen with them,” Ferguson said. “If they stay around I think they’ll do good next year. If not, then I don’t know what will happen with the team or with me as far as my scholarship goes.”
It’s been nearly a month since Ferguson visited LSU when the Tigers defeated Tulane but he and his father have stayed in touch with the LSU staff by weekly conversations with head coach Les Miles and defensive line coach Brick Haley. Although plenty of time has passed since his trip to Baton Rouge, Ferguson still feels good about the time spent in Louisiana.
“I also liked my LSU visit,” Ferguson added. “Actually I liked it a lot out there. I thought it was a good campus. I liked the coaches and just the whole visit. It’s those kinds of visits that made me realize I should take all five of my official visits before I decide so I can really see everything that is out there.
“I need to find the best place for me. I think all of the teams in my top ten would be good choices, but I need to make sure I make the best choice for myself, and not just a good one.”
Ferguson’s next official visit will arrive next month followed by another in January. However, his official decision will not come until February.
“I’m taking my next official visit to California on Dec. 11 and then one to Oklahoma in January," Ferguson concluded. "I’m not sure where I will take my final visit to yet.
“Right now I feel like I could fit in with any of my top ten teams because they all want to win and the players there want to compete to become the best. And all of the coaches are recruiting me just as hard. I made a really good connection with those guys during a tough time in my life and that will make my decision even harder.”