Ego Ferguson, the nation’s No. 13 ranked defensive end, has a recruiting process that is tough to figure out.
A native of Maryland, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Ferguson transferred to Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. and finished his senior season – and upgraded to better competition in the process.
“That competition level here in Maryland was nowhere near what he has at Hargrave, so for J.R. to go in and start as the only high school player on a post-graduate team, and be a featured player in the process, was something special for him,” said Ego Ferguson Sr.
Unlike most prospects, Ferguson, with less than two months until a decision must be rendered, maintains no leaders in the race for his services.
However, somewhat of an “unofficial” list of top suitors has formed.
Ferguson has taken in official visits to Notre Dame, LSU and most recently California. His fourth visit is set for Oklahoma, with the fifth trip still up in the air. Miami and North Carolina are also felt to be in the running.
To gauge where LSU, or any program for that matter, stands in Ferguson’s mind would be nothing more than a shot in the dark.
However, the interest from the Tigers is crystal clear – and the Ferguson family has taken notice.
“[Defensive line] Coach Brick Haley calls a couple of times a week, and he is very confident with his approach when we are on the phone,” the elder Ferguson said. “The last time we spoke was on Friday night, and he was wanting to touch base as soon as we touched down on our California trip.
“He is persistent, and J.R. notices that,” he added. “What has surprised us the most is that coach Haley has been up here every single weekend since the open period; there is a definite due diligence on his part.”
The Ferguson’s have also grown close with LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis, who, during his time in Knoxville, was one of the first college coaches to recruit the four-star prospect.
“Coach Chavis and J.R. have built a great rapport, and that stems from his days at Tennessee, for certain,” the elder Ferguson said. “Ever since that official visit, it seems like he sees LSU in a different light, too. I definitely would say that they are in the thick of things right now.”
Both Ego and his father took in a trip to the California-Berkley campus this past weekend, and the early reviews back reflect perhaps the biggest question that Ferguson must ponder before his decision is made.
“You go to Cal, and it is one of those schools that has balanced their football with education, and that is the approach,” he said. “At Notre Dame, you see how unique the campus is with how things are manicured and the tradition of Touchdown Jesus and what not.
Then at LSU, you have the passion. You got into the locker room and things are crazy, and the players look like they are from the movie 300. It’s football, and it’s a passion that you can’t compare to anything,” he added. “What type of atmosphere J.R. wants to be a part of will be for him to decide.”