Madison Memorial tight end Jake Ferguson had no intentions of committing during his unofficial visit to Wisconsin Thursday, but something in his heart told him on the drive home that prolonging his recruitment wouldn’t change anything.
So instead of completing the short drive back to his house, Ferguson pulled a U-turn, went back up to the football offices and told the coaching staff of his decision to end his recruitment.
“I kind of caught myself off guard when I realized I wanted to play here,” Ferguson said. “I realized that I should have committed and wanted to go back and commit. And that’s what I did, and I don’t regret a single second of it.”
Committing over offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Northern Illinois, Ferguson is the sixth commit for Wisconsin’s 2017 recruiting class.
The three-star prospect had intentions of taking official visits in the fall and looking closely at his options, but changed his mind as he watched a rainy spring practice from the sidelines.
“When I got to practice, the coaches made me feel like family,” Ferguson said. ‘When I watched practice, there was a lot of competition between the guys and a lot of drive to be better. That really caught my eye. At that moment, I kind of knew, yeah, I wanted to be a Badger, and I wanted to play here.”
Although he’s the younger brother of junior safety Joe Ferguson and the grandson of athletic director Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst and his staff never brought up his connections to the school, recruiting him based solely on his talent and character.
“That’s what really made it special to me because they wanted me to write my own story,” said Ferguson, who was offered by Chryst last April. “They wanted me to be me.”
Playing on both sides of the football for the Spartans, Ferguson will start off as a tight end and see how his body develops. His relationship with tight ends coach Mickey Turner was another reason why Ferguson was sold on the program.
“I like Coach Turner a lot,” Ferguson said. “Every time I talk to him, he makes me feel like family. It’s not always about football. I can talk to him about what’s going on in my life, and it’s good.”
Leading Memorial with 64 catches for 991 yards and eight touchdowns last season, Ferguson will now spend his summer building his game and preparing for his college career.
“I am going to focus on lifting, running and getting faster and bigger,” he said. “I want to get ready.”