Practice Tour: John Ferranto

BURLINGTON, N.J. --- In preparation for his collegiate career, North Carolina verbal commitment John Ferranto will start and primarily play offensive tackle for Burlington Township this coming season.

"As I told him years ago, I said, ‘You're going to be an offensive lineman at the next level,'" Burlington Township head football coach Tom Maderia said. "This year, I left it up to him. I said, ‘Look, you're a two-year starter at defensive end. If you want to stay at defensive end, I have no problem with that. If you want to move to offense, move to offense.' He said, ‘I think it's in my best interest to move to offense.' And I agree with him, because that's what he's going to be at the next level – he's going to be an offensive tackle."

Despite starting and almost exclusively playing defensive end the past two seasons, the move to the opposite side of the ball has been smooth for Ferranto, a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder.

"He has the quick feet, the flexibility, and long arms to be a great offensive tackle," Maderia said.

"The transition is going well," Ferranto said. "I have a great offensive line coach, who is just out of Hofstra. So I'm getting a little bit of college scheme, as far as the offensive line goes."

Ferranto's only real adjustment has come with pass blocking.

"I'm not used to moving backwards and having to stop somebody," Ferrnato said. "For the most part, though, I'm still pretty comfortable [at offensive tackle]."

In addition to starting at left offensive tackle, Ferranto will continue to long snap for punts and field goals, and also see time at defensive end in a reserve role.

"I like to play guys one way just like in college," Maderia said. "However, there will be situations where we will put John on the defensive line, but I don't like to wear our guys out. John's going to be on the field a lot… He'll get a few snaps on defense, but I need him to be our mainstay on offense."

Not even a month after Ferranto verbally committed to UNC, Butch Davis was dismissed as head coach.

"I had just got done a practice and I checked my phone and I had like 20 text messages," Ferranto said. "They were basically asking me if I heard what happened to Coach Davis. I was shocked, especially with the timing – a week before training camp, I wasn't really expecting that."

Upon hearing the news, Ferranto contacted fellow UNC commitments Jon Heck and Dan Mastromatteo, who both took the news differently.

"I was trying to get what everybody felt," Ferranto said. "Jon, he wanted to go to North Carolina no matter what – he's like me. Dan, he wants to go to school there obviously now, but he had some questions and he took a couple steps back. Ultimately, we all figured North Carolina is a great place – it's not just about Coach Davis.

"When I went down there for camp, I talked to [Davis] for an hour and that's really the only communication I had with him. I was looking forward to playing for him, but that wasn't the only reason I choose North Carolina. So it didn't really have that much of an effect on me."

Ferranto hasn't had a chance to speak to interim head coach, Everett Withers, but he still has weekly conversations with Allen Mogridge, his primary recruiter, and Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach.

"They told me they have a good football team and they're going to try to prove to everybody that they have a good team by having a winning season," Ferranto said. "They want to have that interim tag removed from Coach Withers and have him be the permanent head coach."

Without a bye week and several Saturday games on the schedule, Ferranto won't take his UNC official visit until after his football season concludes. However, since his season opens with two Friday games, he's hoping to be in Kenan Stadium for one of UNC's early season games.

John Ferranto Profile

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