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Badgers Football: A closer look at incoming Wisconsin freshman Jake Ferguson

With Wisconsin football set to begin summer conditioning June 18th, we profile some of the new scholarship players set to join the program.

Jake Ferguson

Tight End

Commitment Date: 3/31/16

http://www.scout.com/player/197635-jake-ferguson

Accolades

Selected for finals of Nike’s The Opening, rating as No. 2 tight end nationally … finished career with 1,795 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns … defensively, tallied 314 total tackles, 29 TFLs, five sacks, five interceptions and four forced fumbles … as a junior, named first-team All-Big 8 Conference as a wide receiver and linebacker … made All-Southwest Region at wide receiver by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior … caught 63 passes for 991 yards and eight TDs as a junior, while also recording 99 tackles and 6 TFLs … three-year team captain … earned honorable mention all-conference honors in basketball as a junior … also lettered in baseball.

Recruiting Competition

Ferguson committed to Wisconsin over offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Northern Illinois.

Why Wisconsin? 

“I like Coach Turner a lot. 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.”

Coach’s Comments

“He’s athletic as hell, can catch the ball and one of his best traits is he’s competitive. He wants to do it right. If someone beats him on a given play, he’s not going to live that down. He’s going to go after it that much harder on the next one. The only thing you are worried about is does he have the frame to play tight end at this level, and he’s plenty big enough. He’s going to keep hitting the weights, come in here and have to learn a ton of plays because we ask the tight ends to do a ton of stuff, but I’m really excited by what he can do.” – tight end coach Mickey Turner

Scouting Report

Ferguson is a good athlete who plays multiple sports. He has good body control, natural hand-eye coordination, ball skills and leaping ability. He has lined up all over the field for Memorial, playing receiver, lining up in the backfield, playing some outside linebacker and is the team’s punter. He runs solid routes and is willing to block. His toughness stands out, as he does a lot of little things that don’t always show up. He must get bigger and stronger but can easily grow into a tight end role. I could see him following a similar career path to Jacob Pedersen. 

The only Wisconsin 2017 commit invited to The Opening finals, a prestigious high school camp were only the elite prospects are invited, Ferguson showed off his long, lean frame and caught just about everything thrown his way including passes in traffic. Wisconsin will be sure to use Ferguson’s skill set, which has the tools to make him an elite tight end. 

BadgerNation Prediction

Ferguson has a great football mentality, which shows with his dedication to playing multiple positions on the field and playing them well. Ferguson fits the tight end mold for the Badgers and could really blossom once he starts focusing full time on just that position. 

Ferguson needs to continue to bulk up and get stronger, but his route running and catching ability are of top quality and should continue to stay that way. Ferguson has the necessary height and great athletic ability to function as a deep pass game threat, while also reeling in shorter throws for smaller gains. In a game I saw of his last fall, Ferguson caught seven of his 10 targets 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.

Ferguson has 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 since I first saw him two years ago. If continues to develop at that rate, he’ll find himself having a big role at Wisconsin at an early age.


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