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Irish Offer Makes Impact On Ferns
Michael Ferns is already showing signs of becoming one of the nation’s top prospects in the Class of 2014, but the Ohio sophomore isn’t going to let any perceived change in status change who he is as a person.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder from St. Clairsville High School in St. Clairsville, Ohio already has offers from Notre Dame, Virginia and Marshall with interest coming from Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State.
“He’s mature beyond his years,” St. Clairsville head coach Brett McLean said. “He’s one of those kids, one in 30 years you might see, who has the whole package. Has the grades, has the attitude, has the personality, has the work ethic and then has all of the God-given ability to go with it.
“People are going to chip away at him and try to find something wrong with him, that’s the way our society is these days, that’s what’s sad, but I can’t say enough good things about Mike Ferns.”
The St. Clairsville football program is in the process of teaching its freshmen how to use the weight room properly. Following a track meet at the school last week, Ferns decided to stay at school to work with some of his younger classmates instead of going home.
“He asked the coach if he could come in and help the freshmen in the weight room,” said McLean.
“He’s going to be a mentor and he’s going to be a real leader for us and that’s real encouraging. With the attention he’s getting, he’s going to rub off on some of these young kids.”
Notre Dame assistant Harry Hiestand is handling Ferns’ recruitment for the Irish and extended the offer last week following a trip to the school.
“He spent a day talking with me and watched some film with me of Michael and was really impressed,” McLean said of Hiestand. “A couple days later, he called back and they made the offer.”
McLean points to Ferns’ prowess in the classroom before his athletic ability when asked about him.
“First and foremost, he’s a 4.2 student,” the coach said. “He’s high academic honors in advanced classes and that bodes well for a young man in any sport going on to the next level.
“He’s a giant for a 16-year-old, 6-3, 235 already. He’s had two great seasons for us. He started as a freshman, played on both sides of the ball right away. He’s played a lot of different positions for us. He’s been a fullback, a tailback, a tight end. He starts at inside linebacker. He led the team in tackles as a freshman and sophomore. He had a breakout year offensively last year; caught the ball a lot, ran the ball a lot.”
Ferns, who scored 13 touchdowns on offense last fall, used the combine circuit to get on the radar at an early age.
“We were real proactive,” McLean said. “His dad was an instrumental factor in that. We put together highlight films and really busted the phones and got his name out there. Coaches really started to react fast based off what they saw. He got an offer two months ago from Marshall and Virginia wasn’t for behind and, of course Notre Dame here recently. I expect a slew of other ones.”
Ferns has visited Ohio State and Penn State while Michigan State has also stopped by the school during the evaluation period.
“He’s that kind of kid, he’s going to garner a lot of attention,” McLean said. “In terms of all this attention, at the root of it all for Michael is academics. He’s going to stay grounded because he’s got some goals.
“He wants to study medicine in school. He knows there’s going to be life after football someday, so he’s real driven to find a school like a Notre Dame that’s going to value education and that when he gets that degree at the end of his run, it’s going to mean a lot like a degree from Notre Dame would.”
The Notre Dame offer certainly meant a lot to Ferns and his family.
“They were elated,” McLean said. “They’re a Catholic family, they’ve rooted for Notre Dame. They’re excited about that, but honestly, he’s going to have a lot of opportunities and a lot of decisions to make. He’s going to have to sift through it.”
And Ferns is taking it all in stride.
“There’s a smile on his face ear to ear right now,” his coach said. “I think we dreamt of this stuff for him, but we had to wait our turn to get him old enough to get it. Some of it, realistically, is coming a lot earlier than people would have expected, but that’s just recruiting in this day and age.
“He’s excited. We’re trying to keep it all in perspective as much as we can with a kid his age. He’s still got a lot of high school time left, a lot of ball to play here, but there’s definitely an opportunity for him at the next level and we all know that.”
If track doesn’t interfere, Ferns and his family could make a trip to South Bend next month.
“I think he was on campus when he was young, but young enough to not remember much,” McLean said. “They’re going to make a lot of visits and have to sort things out and find a school that has the best academic feel, best student feel and best of everything.”
It's still very early, but Notre Dame will be one school with a great opportunity to prove its case to Ferns.
ND Offers 2014 Stud Safety
It’s clear already that Quin Blanding is going to be one of the top defensive backs in the Class of 2014.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety from Virginia Beach, Va., already has 12 offers from programs like Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech among others.
“It’s exciting just to see that coaches see the talent I put on the field and it shows the hard work I put in in the classroom pays off,” said Blanding.
Notre Dame assistant Scott Booker delivered the Irish offer with Bayside High School head coach Darnell Moore during a visit to the school late last month.
“Coach Booker came to the school and told my coach they had an offer for me,” said Blanding. “I was excited about it. I was just blessed that they see my talent and wanted to offer me.”
Blanding’s teammate, 2013 running back Taquan Mizzell, also has an offer from Notre Dame, but the sophomore still has to do more research on the Irish.
“I don’t know much about them,” he said. “I just know they had Michael Floyd get drafted.”
Blanding’s size coupled with his 4.54-speed makes him an obvious prospect for college coaches, but his attitude makes their decisions even easier.
“I think they see that I’m dominant on both sides of the ball and I play every play like it’s my last play,” said Blanding. “I work hard and come ready to play and try to be a leader for my team.
“I play safety and wide receiver, but they’re recruiting me as a safety.”
Blanding has been a starter since his freshman season and earned All-District and All-Region honors as a sophomore playing all over the field. He picked off seven passes last season and snared nine touchdown receptions.
It’s still too early for Blanding to start forming any type of leaderboard.
“I’m interested in all schools right now,” he said.
But it’s not too early for the sophomore to start thinking about what he wants out of a college.
“I want the education to be one of the highest educations you can get,” he said. “Also, I want it to be like a family. I don’t want anything to be stressful, I just want to be with a family that’s together.”
This post was edited by EGND 2 years ago
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