Friday, August 10, 2012

Michael Ferns III, Wolverine

Steve Threet Michael Ferns III.  Seriously, tell me he doesn't look like Threet with that #10.
St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville linebacker Michael Ferns committed to Michigan on Thursday.  He selected the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others.

Ferns is a 6'3", 235-pounder.  He had 136 tackles as a sophomore in 2011, plus another 88 tackles as a freshman.  He also claims to run a leg of his high school track team's 4x100 relay in 11.6 seconds.

Rivals: N/A
Scout: N/A
247 Sports: 4-star ILB, 93 grade, #5 ILB, #94 overall

A high-level prospect from the state of Ohio, many people thought Ferns was OSU's to lose.  However, he and his family thought better than to head to Columbus, so the pool was narrowed down to Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State.  Ferns visited Michigan a couple times, including the BBQ in the Big House at the end of July, and decided that Ann Arbor was the place for him, despite the fact that his father is a Notre Dame fan. You can probably figure out for yourself why Penn State wasn't the choice.  The younger Ferns also has hopes of one day becoming a doctor, so academics weighed heavily on his mind; he currently has a 4.0 GPA.

I really like what I see on Ferns's film.  He plays both ways for his high school team, although keep in mind as you watch that St. Clairsville is a small school with fewer than 700 students enrolled; the competition is not excellent.  Ferns plays some fullback, tight end, wide receiver, and linebacker.  He shows very good instincts as a linebacker.  Ferns the younger plays downhill nicely, showing quick initial reads and stepping up into holes that open.  He keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and is a very solid tackler.  He also does a nice job of side-stepping blockers and using his hands to shed when necessary.  His change-of-direction skills are also apparent as an offensive player, where he swivels his hips pretty well to slither past defenders.

There's not much to dislike on his film.  He has a pretty advanced game for a high school sophomore.  He does take a false step here or there as a linebacker, an occasional habit that he will hopefully rid himself of in the coming year or two; as a sophomore, that's not a huge concern.

Ferns could project to a number of positions in college.  He has the instincts to play MIKE linebacker, but I could see him outgrowing the position.  I have my doubts that he's already 6'3" and 235 lbs.  Sometimes heights and weights are exaggerated, and that would make him as big as Jake Ryan was as a redshirt freshman.  If he outgrows the position, he has the length and athleticism to play SAM or even weakside defensive end.  He also has the speed and receiving skills to play tight end if Michigan needs him there, although I think his upside is higher on defense.  His all-around skills remind me of 2013 commit Ben Gedeon.

Ferns is Michigan's first commitment for the class of 2014.  The recruiting class currently looks to be about 17 strong, although that number will almost certainly rise between now and February '14.

TTB Rating: 85 (rating system)


  1. I think you have a typo. He is a 2014 recruit, so he doesn't have JR stats yet. He's entering his JR year, correct?

  2. I really like this commit a lot.

    The 6'3" looks about right ... 220? Maybe?

    At 16 it's not unreasonable to grow maybe a couple more inches and gain maybe 15 to 25 lbs in high school. At 6'4" 235 he's a pretty damn imposing freshman LB, at 6'5" 245, if he can run and cover even some, he's going to be a bitch to get the ball over or around.

    Although when you sit and think it through, it's nuts to be contemplating kids who will likely be redshirt seniors in 2019.

    1. 2018 ... seemingly nobody can get years right this AM

  3. Interesting note...

    Since June 10, 2011, Hoke has landed eight Ohio kids with Ohio State offers (Strobel, Kalis, Wormley, Thomas, McCray, Smith, Gedeon, Ferns). In the TEN (!!!) classes from 2002-2011, Michigan landed SEVEN Ohio kids with OSU offers (Crable, Burgess, Mike Massey, Manningham, Boren, Koger, Turner).

  4. You can tell his level of competition is low because he can play ALL THE POSITIONS. That being said, he lays some filthy hits. There's not reason to believe he can't be very, very good.

  5. Good get. Impressive offer list (OSU, ND, Oklahoma). Michigan seems in a great position to be very selective with LB recruits.

  6. Looks good. Nice bonus that he is from Ohio. UM needs a steady stream of these big OLB types to man the important SAM and WDE spots. Reeling in Ferns is a nice way to kick off the 2014 class. Given Clark's murky future, I would not mind if the coaches sneak another kid like this in the 2013 class, if there are any still available. UM is recruiting nice depth on defense across the board. But if there is one spot that is a relatively light, it might be SAM.