On the heels of BlueandGold.com reporting wide receiver Davonte’ Neal’s decision to leave Notre Dame, there is another to report and it is another member of the 2012 recruiting class — Justin Ferguson.
Justin Ferguson is set to leave South Bend on Sunday with no plans to return.
“It’s more of a level of comfort,” Jason Ferguson, Justin’s father, said of the sophomore wide receiver’s decision to transfer to another program. “He didn’t provide specific reasons like playing time or anything because he hasn’t even come home yet since deciding, but I’ve been working with him through his feelings as well. I’m not pressuring him to stay. He talked to Coach [Brian] Kelly and he says he’s sure of his decision and Coach Kelly knows of his intentions.
“It’s a personal decision that he’s making to transfer to another program.”
The way Irish fans began finding comfort in the fact that Ferguson’s classmate, Neal, had decided to leave the program was in the fellow receiver being able to fill the role.
While the Arizona native had been talking to his father, Luke Neal, over the past four months, Ferguson brought it to his father’s attention over spring break.
“When he came home we had a conversation about it,” Jason said. “I told him to go back to school and think it out to make the right decision for the right reasons. He had a chance to speak with the coaches and everybody involved and got a perception of their feelings. He called [this past] Monday to let me know the decision had been made.”
Ferguson is slated to leave South Bend on Sunday with no plans to return.
The 6-2, 196-pound receiver will revert back to his recruitment when considering what school he’d like to attend next and that process of finding a new home will begin when he returns to Florida.
Ferguson, who was a Semper Fidelis All-American in high school, played primarily special teams in 11 games as a freshman at Notre Dame and had one catch for nine yards at receiver.
While his journey will take him on a different path, the Ferguson family was grateful to have the opportunity.
“There are no bitter feelings at all,” Jason said. “I appreciate the opportunity and that they even considered him to begin with. I enjoyed the Notre Dame experience — not just as a coaching staff and school, but also the fans. There’s been a lot of love and we appreciated it every bit as a family.
“But unfortunately with this thing called football, it’s a business as well. And he has to make a decision that is the best for him in the long term. He’s going to have to continue making those tough decisions as he grows up and becomes a man.
“And I’ll do my part to always assist in making sure it’s the right one.”
Notre Dame has now lost four members of its touted 2012 recruiting class — Ferguson, Neal, quarterback Gunner Kiel and cornerback Tee Shepard.