Penn State secured its' 18th verbal commitment to the class of 2013 and fifth this week, as the Nittany Lions went all the way to Visalia, California to find the junior college quarterback they badly needed, earning a commitment from Ferguson just a day after missing on Iowa Western QB target Jake Waters.
"I've been hearing from Penn State and [quarterbacks coach Charlie] Fisher for about four and a half months, and right away Coach Fisher told me that he loved my film," Ferguson said. "From the beginning, I wanted the offer from Penn State."
To get the offer, though, Ferguson had to endure the angst of waiting on Penn State to finish their recruitment of Waters. Waiting was no issue, though, for the quarterback that learned patients in the recruiting process during his time in the JUCO ranks after receiving no offers out of Ridgeview High (Bakersfield, CA). But when the Iowa Western quarterback chose Kansas State Thursday, O'Brien and Fisher hurriedly changed their plan, and changed Ferguson's college destination for good.
"Coach O'Brien called me about 8 a.m. Thursday morning my time, so about 11 a.m. on the East Coast," Ferguson said. "I was sort of awake, but my phone was on silent. For whatever reason, I just took a look at it, and had about five missed calls from Coach Fisher and Coach O'Brien."
Of course, the Nittany Lions offensive gurus were calling to offer him a scholarship, slamming the breaks on his recent commitment to Houston.
"I had a great relationship with [Houston quarterbacks coach Travis] Bush. He's a great guy, and I pretty much committed to them based off of my relationship with him," Ferguson said. "But once Coach O'Brien called Thursday, I kind of knew I was going to go there."
So, with his recruitment hanging in the balance, and final exams taking up a quality chunk of time, Ferguson pondered his decision for the rest of the day Thursday, and most of the morning Friday. In fact, as of Friday afternoon on the East Coast, the FOX Sports NEXT two-star prospect was still undecided. That changed, though, long after darkness had crept over the University Park, as Ferguson made the call late Friday.
"The offense there really fits me better then the spread offenses run at somewhere like Houston. Since I was like, four years old, I've wanted to play in an NFL type offense," Ferguson said. "And I just wanted to play for a guy like Coach O'Brien. I can't really explain it, but he's just an awesome type of person and coach."
But so, too, is Fisher, in the mind of Ferguson. The Nittany Lions first-year quarterbacks coach known for his soft-spoken tone and highly instructive ways made an immediate impact with Ferguson.
"From day one, Coach Fisher said he wanted to get me, and I could call him about anything," Ferguson said. "He's the type of guy I could call when other schools' contacted me, and if I had questions about other visits and stuff, he'd always answer them. We would just talk about every day things. No other coaches have been like that for me, and with the relationship we built, I just knew he was somebody I'd want to play for. I could talk to him or Coach O'Brien about anything."
Only a few weeks separate Ferguson from coming West to State College on Jan. 4, where he'll have four seasons to play three years, and beginning a competition with sophomore signal caller Steven Bench for the starting job. Most importantly though, is for a Penn State team that badly needed him, he badly wanted them, too.
"It's going to be a huge difference for me, because I've never come that far East. The farthest East I've been is Houston," Ferguson said. "I'll do anything it takes to win the job and win in general. And whether that means throwing 99 times a game, or handing off 99 times, if I win the job, I'll be prepared in those five days leading up to the game to be ready to go."