Local fans who have followed San Luis Obispo High football standout Jack Ferguson for the past three years won’t have to go far to see him play at the next level.
Ferguson has verbally committed to play football at Cal Poly after making an official visit to the campus over the weekend.
He’ll join Ross Berry of Templeton, who also has verbally committed to a scholarship offered by Cal Poly.
Starting since he was a sophomore, Ferguson has been known for his play at linebacker, but he’s also seen time as a defensive lineman, offensive guard and fullback.
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At 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Ferguson will give the Mustangs size and strength on the defense. That’s where coaches told him he’d play, though no specific position has been determined.
Ferguson’s speed for a guy his size figures to present problems for opposing teams. His fastest 40-yard dash time during his high school career was 4.68 seconds.
“As breakfast was winding down on Sunday during my visit, I pretty much decided that Cal Poly was where I wanted to go,” Ferguson said. “I just felt like the camaraderie there was really good and players seemed to pull for each other. And I take pride in my academics, and it’s a school that will provide a great education.”
Ferguson, who has a 4.2 grade-point average, plans to major in business and compete for a role on head coach Tim Walsh’s team in summer camp.
He received football scholarship offers from Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Cornell and Cal Poly.
Ferguson said he had talks with officials at Stanford and UCLA about possibly walking on at those programs but decided to take a full-ride scholarship at Cal Poly.
Ferguson had 110 tackles, eight sacks and 19 quarterback hurries this past season playing defensive line and linebacker. His sophomore and junior seasons he combined for 253 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
“When you played against San Luis, Jack Ferguson was the guy you’d have to plan for,” Arroyo Grande coach Tom Goossen said. “He’s one of the premier players on the Central Coast. Not only did he play great defense, but he was an excellent offensive lineman. I think he’ll be fantastic at the next level.”
The last San Luis Obispo High player who received a scholarship to Cal Poly was Andrew Ecklund in 1998, according to Vic Ecklund, Andrew’s father and a former Tigers athletic director and head football coach.
Ferguson’s coach, David Kelley, said that his linebacker “dominated” the high school game.
“Jack’s a very intelligent guy and player,” Kelley said. “He’ll do an excellent job at the next level.”
Ferguson said he his familiarity with Cal Poly — his father John Ferguson attended college there —and growing up going to games helped plant the seed that he might one day play in the football stadium he grew to know well over the years.
And the fact that Cal Poly has been a successful FCS program and will play against FBS colleges (including Fresno State and Colorado State next season) is appealing, too, Ferguson said.
Berry, who committed to the Mustangs in July, joined Ferguson on the same official recruiting visit last weekend.
At 6-4 and 285, Berry will bring an imposing stature to the team, Templeton coach and former Cal Poly standout Dan Loney said.
“He’ll be one of the guys who jumps in and makes an impact,” Loney said. “He’s a big guy, a country boy, a real hard worker who’s not afraid to get dirty and try new things. He sticks his neck on line.”
Berry had scholarship offers from Nevada, Sacramento State and San Jose State.
“Cal Poly had everything I wanted,” Berry said. “I liked the coaches and players. I was able to bond a little with the team this weekend. I love this area, and I wanted to stay local.”