In-state recruiting has risen under first year Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, who signed five in last year’s class and has already sent out a number of offers around the state. They have also been identifying some of the top talent in years to come and offered Madison Memorial sophomore athlete Jake Ferguson. He found out the news during an unofficial visit to Wisconsin accompanied by his grandfather, who is pretty familiar with the program.
“I went to the Badgers football practice a couple of weeks ago and I was there with my grandpa (Barry Alvarez),” Ferguson told BadgerNation. “Coach Chryst then asked me to come over by him in the middle of the field and that’s where he offered me a scholarship. I was very surprised and I didn’t know what to say because I’m only a sophomore and never thought it would happen this early.
“I have thought about the offer a lot. I’ve grown up here. I love it, but it still is very early in the process. I want to go somewhere that is best for me and suits me best. I like the people in Wisconsin and definitely the sports. I’ve grown up watching them play and I never got tired of watching the games. The atmosphere here is amazing.”
Having his grandfather be the former coach who had a hand in building the athletic department and the current Wisconsin’s Athletic Director, Ferguson is grateful to receive his advice growing up and have him in his corner since day one.
“He was the one who took me to the practice and he told me that Coach Chryst and some other coaches wanted to see me,” said Ferguson. “He was very excited to hear that I had been offered. It’s awesome (having Alvarez as his grandfather) and he teaches me a lot. He has been teaching me since youth football, and he’s been there for me since the start.”
The 6-5, 210-pound versatile Ferguson put up big numbers on both sides of the ball. He finished his sophomore season with 109 tackles (22 for loss), three forced fumbles, three interceptions and two blocked kicks as an outside linebacker. Working at wide receiver and tight end on offense, he had 33 receptions for 429 yards and six touchdowns.
“I’m working on my strength and ability but also keeping my speed,” said Ferguson. “I also work on my catching ability. I have been working out at my school and throwing the ball around as much as I can.”
Ferguson is still planning out his camp trips, only knowing for sure he will be going to the Nike Combine in Chicago.