Though he's enjoying his brief stint at Fork Union Military Academy, defensive end A.J. Ferguson is eager to finally arrive in Raleigh.
That's understandable, as the 6-3, 250-pound lineman signed with NC State in February but had to take a detour. Things are going pretty well for him at Fork Union so far.
"We're doing okay," Ferguson said in a recent interview. "We've had two scrimmages and two regular season games. We're 1-1 in the regular season games so far. I didn't play in the first game because I was injured with a tweaked hamstring. I did that while we were running, just doing conditioning. Then in the last game I had like three tackles. I feel fine now."
Ferguson said he is playing defensive end exclusively for Fork Union. He, like many other prospects who attend the school, is using his time there as a learning experience and an opportunity mature both on and off the field.
He hasn’t established any future trips to Carter-Finley Stadium just yet but said he would like to set at least one trip up later this fall.
"I'm not sure what I'll do yet," he admitted. "I've got to get up with coach Cuskie (Jerry Petercuskie). He's called me and left a message but I've got to call him whenever I get some time. It's pretty strict up here."
Though he was upset to see the Pack lose their season opener against the Gamecocks he remained upbeat that NC State will have a good season overall in 2009. He's anxious to get up there and spend some time with his future teammates.
"I'm still solid," he said. "I'll be in Raleigh in January."
As a senior for South Brunswick High School in Southport (NC) Ferguson recorded roughly 80 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, ten sacks and an interception.
South Brunswick Head Coach Gordon Walters: "A.J. is the best defensive lineman that I have ever coached. He also has tremendous hands. A.J. runs well and might grow a few more inches. He also is a very coachable kid that goes hard every play and loves to win and is all about the team. A.J. is also a great citizen with impeccable character.
"A.J. is a great player. He's a four-year starter for us. He started at linebacker as a freshman and really had a great year this season at defensive end for us. He can also play on the offensive side of the ball depending on the scheme, but he's really productive at defensive end.
"He's a big kid who can really run. We just weighed him here recently and he's right at 255 pounds, and he ran the 200 meters for our track team last year."
Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams: "One thing you see repeatedly when watching South Brunswick (Southport, NC) defensive end A.J. Ferguson is the talented senior making play after play in the opposition's backfield. He is skilled at consistently beating the offensive lineman across from him and penetrating into the backfield.
"Ferguson has very good size for a high school defensive end and while not the fastest prospect, he shows good quickness and lateral pursuit which allows him to make plays around the line of scrimmage.
"Ferguson also saw plenty of snaps this year at tight end which allows him to take advantage of his size and athleticism. Although his future college position is defensive end, he displays the overall football skills on offense that will translate to the other side of the ball.
"Although he will need time to get stronger and hone his skills, Ferguson is a solid player with upside who's best days lie ahead."
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