It was open house weekend at Cal Poly, and plenty of football recruits used the opportunity to not only visit the school but swing by spring practice, too.
Many of them were out at Saturday’s practice, mingling with Mustangs head coach Tim Walsh and his staff. That was easy enough to recognize. As for their identities? Not so much.
But there was one familiar face: San Luis Obispo High linebacker Jack Ferguson, who will be a senior in 2012.
I caught up with the Tigers star, who has to be considered next season’s frontrunner for The Tribune’s San Luis Obispo County Player of the Year, to find out what’s new with his recruitment.
Ferguson recently attended a camp for returning seniors at Stanford, and though he hasn’t yet been offered a scholarship by Cal Poly, he said he’s been offered a spot at Cornell and that Colorado is beginning to show him more attention.
The offer from Cal Poly will eventually come. That’s a no-brainer to me. He should probably get offers from some FBS schools as well. I’d say he’s the best linebacking prospect on the Central Coast since I joined The Tribune in 2006, and that includes former Tribune POY Nick Tenhaeff of San Diego State.
At 6-foot-2 and close to 240 pounds, Ferguson would be Cal Poly’s biggest linebacker if he was on the team today. What makes that size such a valuable commodity is that he’s also fast. He was clocked at 4.67 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a camp at UCLA, which is very impressive for a big man at this age.
Ferguson isn’t just fast on the stopwatch. Having covered a few of his games for San Luis Obispo, I can honestly say that he repeatedly looked like the fastest guy on the field for either team, and that’s while pulling double-duty playing offensive guard in the Tigers’ double-wing triple-option that was patterned after Cal Poly’s.
Last fall, I saw him chase down Paso Robles standout Elias Stokes from behind in the open field for a game-changing strip, and Mustangs followers will get a chance to see exactly what that takes when Stokes joins Cal Poly next fall at running back.
In on seemingly every defensive play, Ferguson had a team-high 152 tackles as a junior. That’s almost 13 per game with a season high of 17. He also had 5.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. The term beast was popularized for kids just like him.
I have a feeling Ferguson wants to stay closer to home than Cornell. Right now, Cal Poly could be a leading candidate to keep him local, but expect the word to get out on him, too.
Check out Ferguson’s highlights below, and let me know how you think he’d fit with the Mustangs.