Ferns Looking to Stay Close to Home

St. Clairsville, OH LB Michael Ferns has quickly emerged as one of the top prospects in the 2014 class. The Buckeye State star has already collected 22 offers, but recently concluded that proximity is going to play a major role in his decision. GoBlueWolverine caught up with the talented youngster to discuss his recent visit to Ann Arbor, his decision timeline, and more.

Sam Webb: With regard to Michigan, would you say that the visit was what you expected? Was it better than you expected, coming up here? And what does that do for them as far as where they stand with you now?

Michael Ferns: “Well, I didn’t know what to expect out of the deal. I had never been up that way, and being in Ohio, what you hear is what the Ohio State fans are talking about Michigan.  But they really impressed me, and I think in the long run they’re going to be part of the final decision, when it comes to that time.”

Sam Webb: Let’s go inside kind of like your interactions. Your first time, your first opportunity to sit down face to face for an extended period with Coach Montgomery, Coach Hoke, and Coach Mattison. What did you think of those guys?

Michael Ferns: “They’re great, you know? They’re real personable people, you know? They’re the kind of crew you can talk about anything with.  You can probably see why the players enjoy being around those guys, and, you know, they’re more of a player’s coach. I mean, I haven’t been around them coaching-wise or football-wise, but I could just tell that – they displayed good personalities on and off the field.”

Sam Webb: What was it about this visit that maybe stuck out to you the most? Anything kind of distinguish it… like wow, you know, this was a little bit different?

Michael Ferns: “Well, you know, it was my third visit, and it was my first time being in Michigan, or even in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor’s a great place. Academically, you can tell why Michigan’s up there. I care about academics.  That’s a big part of my decision, and obviously, you can tell that they have everything going for them. Along with that, they have a great football staff, and being around those guys, and being around the players – they have a lot to offer to me, being a recruit. It was just real exciting.”

Sam Webb: You had an opportunity, according to your dad, to tour the hospital and meet some doctors, and some former players that went to medical school. What was your take-away from that? What did you think of that experience?

Michael Ferns: “It was a different side, you know, of your whole college thing, that you got the full – it was the best experience I’ve had, school-wise. And you know, they took me through the whole process of how going from college, to med school, and how that works, and just talked about how balancing all that can get to being, and to see the hard task, and it’s going to be a hard task, but at the same time, I just know that just keep my head straight and everything’s going to work out.”

Sam Webb: So what players – do you remember what players you specifically hung out with?

Michael Ferns:Joe Bolden took me around for the first part.”

Sam Webb: You remind me of Joe. I don’t know if you felt that way, hanging out with him, but you guys seem kind of similar – kind of have similar tastes, and likes, and dislikes. Did you find that hanging out with him?

Michael Ferns: “I think that was what Coach Montgomery was (thinking).  I think that’s why he set me up with him. We can relate… yeah, we’re very similar in our tastes and everything, and I think that’s why Coach Montgomery set me up with him for the night. It’s a trip to see that you can relate to someone at this stage, and it opens up more of a personal aspect of the whole deal.”

Sam Webb: Alright, so from here, your dad, he talked about various visits you had set up.  He talked about the possibility of coming back up to Michigan for the barbecue. Do you kind of have that set up, or any other visits set up?

Michael Ferns: “Yeah, you know, this time around, it was just my dad time,  and I think when the barbecue comes around, and we head up with more family, and just let them get a feel for the school and everything, and the people. I think it’s going to be a good deal. Not only – I mean, I’ve already been impressed, but I want my family to see that it’s a great place to be.”

Sam Webb: What about other schools? I know at one point you were contemplating visiting Michigan State on that visit. Your dad talked about west coast. What about trips to those places?

Michael Ferns: “There are other visits – it’s not all final and everything. It’s the beginning of the process, and I think after these three, and I go on one more this weekend (to Notre Dame - the visit was this past weekend) – I think we’re cutting it short. One, just the last three, you can see there’s so much quality in those three schools in general. As much as I’d love to go to Stanford, and I’m sure it’s a great place, and UCLA… but I think that’s just adding another aspect to think about… the whole distance thing. I’d rather stay close to the area.  I think after these three, and the visit this weekend to Notre Dame, I think I’ll be set to cut it off for the summer, and just focus on my junior year.  Junior year I might make more visits to schools that I’ve missed this summer.”

Sam Webb: Your dad talked about cutting it down to a few schools, and maybe kind of focusing on those schools solely. Is that kind of what you’re getting at? Are you still thinking you’re going to be a guy who makes his decision sometime during your junior year?

Michael Ferns: “Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to making a commitment by the end of my junior year, so we’ve got to cut it down. You can’t just – the way we look at it is, I have 22 offers, but there’s not enough time for me to go to 22 schools, you know? That’s like visiting 22 schools the second time around. So, we have to cut it down, and I knew it was going to happen, but to the extent, we weren’t sure until we actually got through it.”

With Ferns coming out of the U-M and ND visits focusing on three schools - The Wolverines, the Fighting Irish, and also PSU -- stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for much more from Ferns in the hours and days and to come.

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