Michigan Football Recruiting: Michael Ferns -- 2014 Time Capsule

Posted at 1:00pm — 2/12/2014

Michigan Football Recruiting: Michael Ferns — 2014 Time Capsule

Michael Ferns is already on campus getting ready for spring practice to start February 25th. While enrolled early not only gets him prepared for spring football, but also getting acclimated in a few classes as well and being a student-athlete at the college level eight months ahead of the normal student at the University of Michigan.

GBMWolverine Readers: Here is a overview of University of Michigan 2014 Signed Commit Michael Ferns.
Michael Ferns
Height: 6’3
Weight: 235
Birthday: September 24, 1995
Number: 10
Current Position: Athlete, Defensive End, Linebacker, Fullback
Future Position: Defensive End/Linebacker
City/State: Saint Clairsville, Ohio
High School: Saint Clairsville
Head Coach: Brett McLean
Recruiter: Coach Mark Smith
Official Visit: 11/29/2013
Committed: 8/9/2012
Top Offers: Alabama, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Stanford.
GPA: 4.0
All-Star Game: 2014 Under Armour All-America Game
Class: 2014 Michigan Wolverine Recruiting Class (Signed).

Michael Ferns 8Follow Michael: on Twitter

Coach Hoke on Ferns:

“Michael, from Saint Clairsville, Ohio, has really good range to him, very productive at the point of attack and physical. He came in early in January, and I think he’s really acclimated well.”

Key Stats:

Totaled 144 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior. Registered 133 tackles as a junior and 136 tackles as a sophomore.


Ferns attended but did not participate due to injury in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. First-team All-Eastern District selection as a senior. Also a first-team All-OVAC choice as a senior. Garnered Ohio Special Honorable Mention All-State accolades as a senior.


24/7: .
Rivals: .
Scout: .

Note: Stars do matter, but are not absolute in predicting success within a football program. So, with that in mind the GBMWolverine Staff has cleverly come up with a new system of ranking. We are using footballs instead of stars, how can one argue against a system that clever? Below are the interpretations of football power predicted way too boldly long before it matters. In other words, we will give informed opinion with the crystal ball and let the players determine what will happen through years of hard work.

Criteria: Raw talent, athleticism, position of need, intangibles.

GBMWolverine Rankings:

10 footballs: Instant impact player.
9 footballs: Three or four-year starter at a high level.
8 footballs: A starter with all league potential.
7 footballs: A meaningful starter at some time during a career.

6 footballs: A spot starter or special teams player.
5 footballs: Not in the two deep after a two years.
4 footballs: Never made it.
1-3 footballs: See the above.

Side Note:

Remember just as we did during the season with grading positions or groups we are very tough graders and expect a lot out of those positions or players so this is no different here.

His Recruiting Story:

A 4.0 student who was taking classes at Ohio University Eastern, Ferns didn’t go into the college selection process thinking strictly about football.
Ferns’ final three choices also included the Fighting Irish and Nittany Lions before ultimately deciding that the opportunity to play in the “Big House,” take part in one of the greatest rivalries in sports against the Buckeyes and the UM degree was just too much to overlook.

Michael Ferns 4To be able to get to this point, Ferns had to significantly increase his academic workload in his junior year of high school. “A lot of it was stressful last year,” Ferns said. “I was taking two English classes, three science classes, trigonometry and senior government. I was stacked from the start of the day until the end of the day. By the time, I got home, it was off to bed and get ready to do it all over again the next day.”

Ferns admits that leaving his friends and classmates some six months earlier than most is difficult. “It’s going to be tough, but I think everyone respects and understands my decision,” Ferns said.

His Commitment Comments:

“It was academics and athletics,” Ferns said. “It was a combination of both. We were talking big programs here and Michigan stood out in both regards. It was the top public university at the time when I committed.” By enrolling early, Ferns will begin his classes and take part in the Wolverines’ off-season weight program and then spring practice as well as the Wolverines’ spring game. “I’ll have a lot of credits done by the time I get to my freshman year,” Ferns said. “I think scheduling will be a lot easier for me because I’ll be basically done with my freshman courses. It’s just going to make the adapting to college life much easier.”

Michael Ferns 1GBMWolverine Commentary:

This kids importance goes beyond his football playing. he is the most vocal cheerleader for UM in the class and leader.

St. Clairsville is a very nice, typical mid-western town; right at the edge of what most say is the east coast geographic and cultural setting. In the spring, trout fishing is a few miles away in Pennsylvania. The area is smack in the middle of the football rich western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio area.

One of Ohio’s most talented football players, Michael Ferns, expressed a true interest in the Michigan program. He visited and the feedback was positive. A second visit cemented his affirmation for Michigan as a final college destination to spend four or so years undergoing academics and playing Division One football.

The early summer found Michigan, PSU, and Notre Dame as early favorites as expressed in media articles. Clearly, the unfortunate PSU events may have played a factor in the recruiting decision.

Michael and his family, from media articles seem to attach a high level of importance to high character and scholarship. While Happy Valley is closer, Ann Arbor is within range of a day trip, the difference being only about 75 miles.

Michael Ferns is the type of student athlete who seems to be gravitating to the Michigan program.

Michael Ferns 6Overview:

Michael definitely passes the site test, in fact, big time. He is a big athlete capable of playing multiple positions. Michael pays linebacker, tailback, tight end, and slot at the high school level. Although we believe Michael ends up on defense at either Sam linebacker or a defensive end, but fullback is also a definite possibility. The plain fact is Michael is very talented and athletic enough to play numerous positions on either side of the ball. Michael is a very strong student with a reported 4.0 GPA.


Michael combines excellent size with good speed, a combination all college coaches crave in recruits. He moves his feet very well and plays with acceptable pad level. As one would expect with the multiple positions Michael plays, he does not shy away from contact, either tackling or blocking.

Concerns/Needs Work:

There are a few concerns to be addressed. First, Michael is a bit stiff and will need to loosen up. Second, his feet tend to go dead on contact. And finally, Michael plays at a lower level of competition. Regarding these concerns: There are advanced flexibility programs that can overcome this stiffness. Michael will be taught to drive through the ball. And playing smaller competition, compared to say a Jake Ryan or Joe Bolden, may place Michael in a situation where he would benefit greatly from early admission.

Both linebacker and defensive end will have depth by the time Michael arrives in Ann Arbor. There will be ample time for Michael to develop and learn the system. When a high level talent needs a little time to catch up, this is called the tadpole effect. Give a talented guy a little time to adjust to the competition and the speed of the game at the college level, and he typically will.

Red-shirt or play his Freshman Year?

GBMWolverine believes he will likely red-shirt his first year. There will be no need to rush Michael into playing time, but a great athlete can earn special teams time.

Michael Ferns reminds the GBMWolverine Staff of — Former Michigan Football Player — Larry Stevens — who played Defensive End.

Video Highlights:

Final Thoughts:

Michigan is getting a very important commit in Michael Ferns. The next two years will determine how much more he improves and physically develops. The future is very bright in all regards for this young prospect, and Michigan fans should be very proud that a player of this talent, scholarship, and character has declared to play in Ann Arbor. He was the first recruits in the 2014 class make first impressions.

We welcome Michael Ferns to Michigan and hope he has a successful career on and off the football field as a student-athlete at the University of Michigan. Go Blue!

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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