|Michael Ferns III|
Weight: 233 lbs.
High school: St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville
Jersey number: #51
Last year: Ferns was a senior in high school. He had 144 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #6 inside linebacker, #158 overall, and #6 in-state.
Final TTB Rating: 83
Ferns committed to the Wolverines in August of 2012 and became the lead recruiter for his class, developing a system where a t-shirt was sent to each new commit of the 2014 class. He kept things going on the football field, too, and was selected to the Under Armour All-America Game, though he couldn't participate due to injury. He also has a younger brother, Brendan, who is a touted recruit for the 2016 class.
When Ferns was recruited, I thought he was a MIKE/SAM tweener, but Michigan's move to the 4-3 Over defense suggests that he's probably a middle linebacker, as long as the base defense remains similar. The starter at MIKE is Jake Ryan, and the primary backup should be sophomore Ben Gedeon. However, the coaching staff will probably go three-deep, especially because Ryan graduates and they will want to groom a backup to Gedeon for 2015. Ferns will probably be battling redshirt freshman Mike McCray II to be the third middle linebacker, and one or both might get some reps at WILL linebacker behind Desmond Morgan and Joe Bolden, a position that's in the same situation with Morgan graduating after this season. Ferns could also be a special teamer.
Prediction: Backup linebacker