May 26, 2009

Five-star opts for Hargrave

Defensive end J.R. Ferguson, known to most as "Ego", will be playing his senior season of football outside of the state of Maryland where he has starred at St. John's Catholic Prep in Frederick, Md. for the last two years. The five-star is headed the to Hargrave Military Academy to play under head coach Robert Prunty.

For Ferguson, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 14 prospect in the country for the class of 2010, the decision to leave St. John's was a difficult one.

"St. John's has done so much for me the last couple of years and coach (Jimmy) Ward has been great for me," said Ferguson. "It's hard leaving, it was one of the toughest decisions I've made. I'll always be grateful for what they've done and will continue to stay in contact with coach Ward."

The decision came down to a few different things.

"I think I'm the best player in the country and I want to show that," he said. "Level of competition was a big deal for me because it wasn't that strong where I was. But at Hargrave I'll be playing against college players and with guys who are older than me. That's a great way to get better.

"It will also allow me to stay focused. This is a business to me now and I needed to do what's best for me to reach my goals and the next level. I spoke to Terence Kerns who's from Frederick and he went to Hargrave and said it allowed him to play at a higher level and it kept him focused. There are no distractions, you have discipline and structure."

Ferguson is also looking forward to playing for Prunty, who specializes in defensive linemen.

"I can't wait to pick his brain and learn from him," he said. "I know they've had a lot of players down there who have gone on to college and the NFL and they have had a few great defensive linemen like Quinton Coples and others. And I know Kevin Newsome played there as a high school senior last year. I think it will make me a better player and prepare me for college."

Ferguson will join the likes of Newsome, Coples and others like Vidal Hazelton and Keiland Williams as true seniors playing on the post graduate team at Hargrave under Prunty.

Hargrave has produced a first-round NFL draft pick five times since 2002 as Charles Grant (2002), Jon Sullivan (2003), Carlos Rogers (2005), Brandon Albert (2008) and Peria Jerry (2009) all went high in the draft.

There are currently nearly 40 players on NFL rosters that went to college via Hargrave.

Ferguson has more than 40 scholarship offers already and hasn't begun to narrow down his list of schools.

"I'm hoping to take some trips this summer with my dad and narrow things down a bit," he said. "Next week we go to Hargrave to check things out and I enroll there on August 11th but I will be busy between then trying to see as many schools as possible."

As a junior, Ferguson had 97 tackles (32 for a loss) and 14 sacks.



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