Season Wrap-Up: John Ferranto

As planned, North Carolina pledge John Ferranto flipped to the offensive line for his senior season. However, he continued to start and see significant reps on defense, which wasn't initially the plan.

"Defensive line was definitely our position with the least amount of depth," Ferranto said. "Since I've always played it, [head coach Tom Maderia] asked me in the beginning of the season if I felt conditioned enough to [play both ways] – normally he likes to keep his guys fresh for one side of the ball."

Ferranto, a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder, was the only player to go both ways throughout the entire season for Burlington Township (N.J.), though injuries forced a couple of other players to do the same during the latter parts.

"Once I got into the rhythm of the game, I wasn't really worried about getting tired," Ferranto said. "I actually liked it a lot more, because I felt like I was a bigger part of the game."

Prior to this past season, Ferranto was exclusively a defensive end. However, in preparation for his collegiate career he was moved to offense tackle during this past off-season.

"I definitely enjoyed [offensive tackle] a lot," Ferranto said. "Once I got into a game, with my defensive background I definitely felt like I knew what the other guy was trying to do a little bit, so that helped me out a little bit."

Ferranto felt the season allowed him to progress in getting off the ball, with his hand placement, and finishing blocks.

"I felt that I did pretty well each game," Ferranto said. "Each game, I felt like I got a little bit better at it. There are some things I definitely need to work on, but this season definitely helped me get the fundamentals down."

With a 6-2 regular season record, Burlington Township earned the third seed in the NJSIAA Central Group 3 playoffs. However, Ferranto's team was upset in the first round by sixth seeded Woodbridge (N.J), 24-21, on a last minute field goal.

"It's very hard for us to win a playoff game, because we're traditionally the smallest school in our group," Ferranto said. "But it was a very close playoff game. Their kicker kicked a 40-yard field goal with about 50 seconds left. So we were in it right until the end."

The early playoff exit allowed Burlington Township to go all-out for its annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against Bridgeton (N.J.), which ultimately resulted in a 14-12 victory.

"The game would have still happened [if we would have advanced in the playoffs], but the starters would have probably played a quarter – maybe a half at the most," Ferranto said. "Having the starters play the entire game definitely was the difference."

After a slight hesitation when Butch Davis was dismissed, Ferranto has been 100-percent firm in his commitment to UNC.

"I watch [the situation] a lot – my dad and I look at it every day," Ferranto said. "Unless it's something really drastic with [NCAA sanctions], nothing is going to change my decision. My dad and I have talked to my coach, who used to coach college, about it and we know that coaching changes are very common in college football. It will likely happen sometime during my college career no matter where I go.

"A coaching change wouldn't affect my decision, but I feel like one of the reasons I did commit was because of Coach [Sam] Pittman. So I hope that he and the other coaches get to stay. But if he doesn't, then I'll monitor the situation."

Ferranto and Pittman speak weekly, with the future of the coaching staff as one of the common topics of conversation.

"Every once in a while I ask him how everything is going and what he thinks is going to happen," Ferranto said. "He's pretty honest with what he thinks is going to happen. He just tells me that he thinks that they are doing the best they can as a coaching staff to stay there. They've had a decent season, so a bowl win will help them a lot."

Outside of sporadic calls from Boston College and Temple, schools have respected Ferranto's commitment status.

Ferranto is scheduled to take his only official visit – to UNC – the weekend of Dec. 9. The Tar Heels' basketball team hosts Long Beach State that Saturday.

"I was going to go down last weekend for the Duke [football] game," Ferranto said. "But after talking to Coach Pittman, he thought it would be better if I moved it to a later date, because everybody is home during Thanksgiving break. So he it would be better to get the full experience of what it would be like when students are on campus."

John Ferranto Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories