Game Evaluation: Jake Ferguson

Madison Memorial junior receiver/linebacker Jake Ferguson played game one of his junior year on Friday night. Inside are analysis and observations.

Strengths: The things that stood about Jake Ferguson’s game is his intensity and his fluidity. For being 6-5 and 200 pounds, he moves effortlessly. He reminds me slightly of current Wisconsin senior Tanner McEvoy with the way he uses his height as a weapon on offense to play the ball in the air over smaller defensive backs. Watching him work, it’s evident that he has good instincts and timing.

The best athlete on the football field in the opener, Ferguson was used as a wide receiver, inside linebacker and punter. He finished with 135 receiving yards on five catches and three touchdowns and 12 tackles (eight solo).

“He’s a great athlete,” said Madison Memorial head coach Adam Smith. “He is a physical kid, competes hard and we’re going to use him in any way that we can. We attempt to get the ball in his direction and he made good on a couple”

He was hampered by leg cramps in the second half and hardly played in the fourth quarter, which coincided with Madison East pulling away from Memorial.

Weaknesses: Ferguson played on both sides of the football but appeared to be more natural on offense. His reaction time on defense was a hair slow and his tackling needs improvement. He had an opportunity to stop a tailback for a two-yard gain, didn’t fully wrap up, saw the runner slip away and go for a 44-yard touchdown. However, Smith told me after the game that Ferguson was playing inside linebacker out of necessity because of a combination of injury and suspension.

His route running needs to be a little more precise for the next level and his frame could use some additional strength. His speed in the opener was good but not great. If he improves in the areas of conditioning and weight training, he has a chance to be a really solid prospect entering college.

Overall: It will be interesting to see where Ferguson’s college future will lie. Watching him work live in person for the first time, his body and ability screams tight end more than defense. His hand-eye coordinator was impressive to watch, showing good patience and control to catch a pass after it was tipped and turn it into a positive.

He holds two offers currently (Northern Illinois and Wisconsin) but it seems only a matter of time before he picks the Badgers. His older brother, Joe Ferguson, is on the UW roster and his grandfather is Barry Alvarez. Wherever he goes, he’s a prospect who has a nice upside and future ahead of him.

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