Some athletes are labeled as students of the game as they always look to improve their game. But after talking with St. John's at Prospect Hall (MD) defensive end J.R. Ferguson, it is clear that few take it to the level that he has.
"Every week I go and watch my tape and evaluate it. I am constantly trying to get better," Ferguson said. "Then, I watch some of the top defensive ends from year's past (i.e. Devon Kennard as he mentioned among others) and see how I measure up to what they did. I want to continue developing myself to become a better player."
And apparently, things have worked out favorably up to this point as the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Ferguson is up to 30 offers from many of the premier programs in the country. At the moment, Ferguson has yet to name a favorite.
But he does have a good idea of the stops he plans to make this spring.
"I have already been to Tennessee, Maryland, and North Carolina," Ferguson said. "This Friday I am going to Florida State and on April 15, I fly out to California to check out Cal, USC, and UCLA. Before summer, I also plan to go to LSU and Ohio State."
Of the schools mentioned, Ferguson has an offer from all of them expect the Buckeyes. One school that will likely not see him this spring is Big 12 champions Oklahoma, which he does have an offer from.
Even still, Ferguson said he looks to make his way to Norman for the summer.
"I plan to visit Oklahoma this summer when I have a chance. They (Sooner coaches) have come to my school twice to see me," Ferguson said. "My recruiting coach is coach (Kevin) Wilson."
But while Ferguson continues one of the most sought-after players in the country, his focus remains the same, on and off the field.
"First things first would be school. I know that I have a lot of offers and have plenty of coaches to call, but I have to make sure and finish homework first," Ferguson said. "Then, when I am done I can talk with coaches. On the field, I bring a winning attitude to a program and is always team before self."
With the 30 programs that have offered him, Ferguson said it is about half and half as far as him playing defensive end or tackle. He said that he feels like he is more suited for the end position, but will do what is best for the program.
"My size and my quickness are two traits that help me make the plays I do. I feel like I am a good pass rusher and I love getting to the quarterback," Ferguson said. "When coaches see my height and weight on paper, they see me as a tackle, but when they see me in person, most like me at the end position."
Ferguson finished the 2008 season with 97 tackles (37 for loss), 14 sacks, and seven offensive touchdowns as well from the fullback and tight end position.