MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Michael Ferns grew up 88 miles from Morgantown but after graduating high school chose to go to Michigan to pursue a college football career.
After one season, the St. Clairsville, Ohio native transferred to West Virginia University, the place he belonged all along.
“I should of came here in the first place,” Ferns said. “That’s the end of it. The staff up there got fired. I wasn’t really having a great time… I just knew coach Crook from the process and I had already transferred, called him up and said ‘hey any opportunity here’. And my brother was also getting recruited so it became a come along. Yeah sure and if your brother wants to come along, great, awesome.”
For the 6-foot-2, 245-pound fullback, Michigan wasn’t all the glitz and glamour it appeared to be and his heart led him where he belonged.
“I got up there and it wasn’t what I expected,” he said. “I got caught up in the process. If you go off the idea that someone should go to the place they really care about, they grown up watching and all that, I should of picked here in the first place.”
Due to NCAA regulations Ferns sat out last season and is now making the most of his opportunity with the Mountaineers.
“First year playing, it’s fun, different,” he said. “Traveling for the first time last week, that was different. It’s going well. I had the special teams award this last week and that was kind of cool. Special teams is a great way to get on the field, and I got to get in on a score this week, so that was fun too, just getting those guys in the end zone.”
While the sophomore was a linebacker in high school, he is just happy being able to contribute to his team.
“I was fine with playing offense but if they said hey we need you at linebacker,” he said. “Sure whatever. They could say something to me today and say hey we need you to do something else. As long as I’m playing. After a few years of sitting around anything is better than nothing.”
With each week, Ferns is adapting to his new position.
“You got to be aggressive,” he said. “You got to be able to flip it on. I am not like a “grr” hard ass kind of guy all the time but when you get on the field you got to flip it on. Just realize you are doing it for not only yourself but the people behind you, the team. I love seeing Russ, Justin and Kennedy score.”
The coaching staff is noticing the difference in Ferns as he becomes more experienced at the fullback position.
“The thing with him early was he used to be a ‘thinker,’ and sometimes you can’t blink and play that position — you’ve got to go and make people react to you,” WVU running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider said. “Now Ferns is doing a better job of taking it to the defense instead of sitting back and trying to catch everything. That makes him be more physical at the point of attack.”
As Ferns gets more comfortable he looks to continue to make an impact for the Mountaineers on the field.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS