There are so many things to like about Ferguson from a pass-catching standpoint. Listed at 6-5 and 215 pounds, Ferguson is a tremendous target for a quarterback and takes advantage of it. Of the 10 passes thrown his way, Ferguson caught seven of them with no drops. He catches the ball with his hands instead of trapping the ball into his chest and can make a play without breaking stride.
On his 61-yard interception return for a touchdown, Ferguson caught the ball moving to his right from the inside linebacker position, turned up field, eluded some tacklers and out raced everybody to the end zone.
Although he appeared hampered by an injury, Ferguson gutted it out, rarely missing a defensive series, fulfilling his punting duties and coming in on critical passing downs (more on that later). Even though he appeared to be limping, his burst off the line was noticeable and his route running was solid for his age.
Ferguson caught seven passes for 77 yards on 10 targets. He didn't have a drop and had one 15+ yard completion called back from a bogus pass interference call that the officials ruled a pick play.
In addition to his interception, Ferguson had seven tackles on defense, typically playing the position like a free safety but willing to come down to make a play.
In the first quarter alone, Ferguson had three catches, three punts, three tackles, an interception and his only carry of the game for two yards.
Areas of Improvement
Blocking was missing in Ferguson’s game. Part of the reason why was the Spartans never lined him up in a true power tight end set, so he rarely crashed down on a linebacker or a defensive back. When he did, Ferguson has trouble finishing blocks. That will come with time, but there will be an adjustment period for him moving from outside to inside and dealing with bigger ends than he deals with in his conference.
There were also instances where Ferguson got bumped off his mark and needed a step or two to recover. Per usual with a high school player, time in the weight room will help build his frame and help him play through those minor hits.
And while I commend him for stepping up as the team’s punter (he nearly dropped a 42-yard punt down to the one-inch line), he shouldn’t quit his day job.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Memorial’s coaches put Ferguson in on every defensive series as a spy player and not on every offensive series, especially in the second half. It was clear that Memorial’s offense was lacking rhythm and not putting your best player on the field was a mistake, especially when you have other receivers dropping passes or bobbling catchable passes that led to interceptions.
Regardless, Ferguson is an elite-level caliber player who appears to be the perfect fit for head coach Paul Chryst, tight end coach Mickey Turner and the rest of the offense. He’s got the size and ability to make plays down the field, the frame to add strength to be a stout run blocker and the drive/leadership to push the offense forward. Ferguson has made tremendous strides to his game over the last year since I first saw him, especially in the last six months. If continues to develop at that rate, he’ll find himself having a big role at Wisconsin at an early age.