Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy five-star defensive end J.R. Ferguson, nicknamed "Ego" after his dad, has narrowed his list of schools basically in half, to 21. But he stressed that his list could change. He hopes to narrow things down to five to 10 schools by the time the season starts.
Ferguson has visited 12 of his 21 favorites and has roughly 44 offers.
"In no order, my list is down to Tennessee, LSU, Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, USC, California, UCLA, Rutgers, Maryland, Georgia, Florida State, Miami, USF, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt," said the 6-foot-3, 272-pounder. "But that could change if I speak to a team that has offered me that I haven't really seen or given a chance to yet or a team that hasn't offered. But these are the teams that have shown the most interest in me.
"These are the schools that love me more than I love them right now and that's what I want, a school that appreciates me and really wants me. I'm driven to be the best player I can be and I want to find the right fit to help me get there."
Ferguson has visited Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina, NC State, USC, Cal, UCLA, Rutgers, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina and Penn State. He is planning a Florida trip to see Miami, USF and Florida State over the next month or so, and also hopes to see Virginia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt before his senior season starts.
"I know I'm going down to Florida to check out Miami, USF and FSU," he said. "That will be in a few weeks I think. I'm not sure of any official visits or anything like that yet, I'll see after I get to as many of the places I haven't been to yet this summer."
Ferguson admits that his most surprising visit this year already was out west.
"Seeing USC, Cal and UCLA opened my eyes, I didn't really know what it was like out there but it was great," he said. "It really made me think that distance doesn't matter even more than before."
As for coaches he has hit it off with, Ferguson names a few.
"Coach Blake at UNC, coach Franklin at USC, coach Lupoi at Cal, coach Wilson at Oklahoma and coach Orgeron at Tennessee -- those are a few that come to mind," he said. "My position coach will be very important to me so that will be key. But I want to stress that I'm keeping everything open, I'm keeping an open mind so everyone gets a fair shot. I'll try to narrow things down more before my season starts and this list could change."
Ferguson is ranked as the No. 14 player in the country by Rivals.com. He's had 32 sacks over the last couple of seasons and more than 200 tackles.