This weekend Ego Ferguson will board a plane for Miami in what will serve as the final leg of a recruitment process that will play out until the end.
With visits already made to Cal, Florida State, LSU and Notre Dame, the four-star defensive end will return from South Beach and begin trimming his list until it holds only one.
“He has got the top-five, and at the end of the day it’s not a bad five to play with,” said Ego Ferguson, Sr. “We realize that it dragged out until signing day, but we have always maintained to J.R. that once he commits, he is only as good as his word. We are precise and consistent with our tune in that message.
“We don’t want him to decide on a school and then end up somewhere else.”
The LSU staff fell victim to a pulled pledge on Tuesday evening when Cassius Marsh, a four-star defensive tackle commitment, decided to switch his verbal to the UCLA Bruins – leaving LSU high and dry just one week before signing day.
If things fall correctly for the Tigers, their loss could soon become a gain.
“J.R. wants that opportunity to play early, and LSU has told him that they can offer that chance,” Ferguson said. “He has gone over their depth chart many times, and he has always liked what the Tigers said they had going.”
The family was given one final rundown by the LSU staff on Tuesday evening when head coach Les Miles and defensive line coach Brick Haley traveled first to Maryland to visit with the elder Ferguson before flying to Virginia to meet with J.R, who enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy to finish his prep work.
“It was a solid recap of everything that they have told us so far,” the elder Ferguson said. “They are moving Pep Levingston to the inside, and they gave me breakdowns on the younger defensive ends like Sam Montgomery. The coaches said that they are lacking that big, physical defensive end, and that J.R. could help fill that void right away.”
While the Ferguson side remained mum on any leaders, the reason the Tigers are in the thick of the race is because of the work from one of their staff members.
“Coach Haley’s persistency has stood out from the start,” Ferguson said. “He kept calling and making trips and it never stopped, and we really respected that sort of dedication. He has been there with J.R. since day one.
“Add to that the relationship coach Miles has built, and it is tough to pick against LSU,” he added. “You have SEC ball, you are in the elite of BCS football and they play big defensive ends.”
When Ferguson leaves Miami he will head to Maryland to meet with his father, where the two will then hit one another with the pros and cons of each program before a decision is rendered.
“We have to go to the board and take all of our notes and make the decision,” the elder Ferguson said. “Normally someone would have a top two or three by now, but we really don’t know. Everyone is offering something really attractive.
“He will look at the sub-categories, from the relationship with coaches to opportunity to play early to education, and he will make the best call from there,” he added.