Great news for Ferguson

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Tennessee football signee Riley Ferguson has caught a break that could give his bid for the Vols' first-team quarterback job a real boost.

With classes at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., running through June 6 and graduation ceremonies scheduled for June 12, Ferguson projected to miss the June 3 cutoff for enrolling in the first session of Tennessee's summer-school classes.

Butler High officials have agreed to let Riley take some of his final exams early, however. This will enable him to complete his high school diploma requirements and report to Knoxville for his first two summer-school classes on June 3. This also will enable him to start working out with his Vol teammates considerably earlier.

Had Butler officials refused to allow Riley to take some tests early, he would have had to postpone his enrollment at Tennessee until July, when the second session of summer school begins. This also would have delayed his chance to start working out with his college teammates.

Donnie Ferguson, Riley's father, told InsideTennessee that Vol head coach Butch Jones was very pleased to learn that his young quarterback will be able to enroll in June, with many of the Vols' other incoming freshman signees.

"Coach Jones really wanted him to get there and get started early, go through orientation and get into class," Donnie Ferguson said. "Riley still could've worked out with the team starting June 12 but he wouldn't be in class until July. The coaches really wanted to get him in that routine of working out and going to class."

Young Ferguson will report to Tennessee May 28 for a physical exam and freshman orientation. He'll go back home to finish high school, then return to Knoxville for his first summer-school session on June 3. He'll go back to North Carolina on June 11 to take part in his high school's graduation ceremonies on the 12th.

"He'll be making about four trips to Tennessee in the next week or so," Donnie Ferguson said. "If he didn't do that he wouldn't be able to start summer-school classes until July. Tennessee's coaches want him taking classes while he's there, not just doing workouts."

Young Ferguson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, led Butler High to state titles in 2010 and 2012. He completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,345 yards and 48 touchdowns as a junior, then fought back from a thumb injury to throw for 2,173 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. He competed in the finals of the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp in 2012 at Redondo Beach, Calif.

Also competing in the 2012 Elite 11 finals was fellow Vol signee Josh Dobbs of Alpharetta, Ga. Ferguson and Dobbs will be challenging junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman when Tennessee's quarterback competition resumes with preseason camp in August.


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