Sophomore wide receiver Keith Ferguson is a talent.
And he has the numbers to back it up.
In his first collegiate game, Ferguson broke the Cornell freshman receiving single game mark with 93 yards against Princeton. The next game he broke the record again with 94 yards. By the end of last year, he had freshman records in both catches (41) and yards (530).
The sophomore started this season where the he left the old one. As perhaps the lone bright spot in the Red’s 38-15 loss to Bucknell on Saturday, Ferguson hauled in four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
However, in addition to his ability as a receiver, Ferguson is now a starter on the punt coverage team. In this capacity he made two tackles and had a fumble recovery against the Bison.
But if you ask him, its just part of the job description.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Ferguson said of the team’s personnel decisions.
Head coach Pete Mangurian feels that Ferguson’s presence on the punt coverage has been beneficial.
“Ferguson has some qualities as far as just being around the ball and making plays that we wanted to put him in the position to do that,” he said.
Ferguson likes the new position as well.
“I’m learning as I go on, so it should be a good move for me,” he said. “[With] my speed and athleticism I can get down the field and get in people’s way and make plays. I’m not the biggest guy, but I have the form to get in people’s way.”
While Ferguson’s special team’s play was impressive over the weekend, it is his potential as a big-play receiver that makes him likely to continue to make his mark in the record books.
After starting six games last year when then-junior Edgar Romney was forced out for the rest of the season with an injury, Ferguson made great strides.
“That was six games to many. He should have stayed in a reserve role,” wide receivers coach Brandon Stott said.
However, the team expects to benefit from Ferguson’s experience last year. With Romney back and healthy, Ferguson is the third receiver in the offense, and a very experienced one. Due to last year’s experience, Ferguson has also been forced to pick up the coverages and schemes of the college game. He also was one of the more improved players on the team during spring practice last year.
“A lot of people would think ‘he is the most improved, but he was supposedly a freshman phenom,’ but I definately have improved. I understand coverages a lot better,” he said.
“He did a great job last spring and has done a great job at camp so far,” Stott agreed.
Ferguson had a lot to learn about the position, as he was a quarterback in high school. With hard work though, he has made the adjustment.
“He has learned how to attack defenses from a receivers viewpoint. As a quarterback you just stand back there and read a coverage. Now he has to attack that coverage,” Stott said. “That’s the hardest thing for a wide receiver to learn how to do is how to make the DB do what he wants him to do. And he has learned [that skill].”
But in the end, Ferguson’s best asset is his talent.
“He has great physical ability. He is extremely quick and he just does things exteremly well,” Stott said. “You never know when he is going to take it the distance, and that’s why he is so exciting to watch.”
And that is why he should be able to continue his assult on the record books.
“He will probably be one of the most exciting guys here for a while. When he is on the field, you have to watch out for him,” Stott said.
Archived article by J.V. Anderton