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Fergerson looks to be spriritual team leader

By Michael Butler

An'darius Fergerson led by example at Tallassee High School, both on and off the field. He continues to be a role model among his teammates now at Jacksonville State University.

Fergerson will be a redshirt freshman on the Gamecocks football team this season. He's excited about getting back on the field.

"Fall camp starts on Tuesday with the first practice," Ferguson said. "(Last year) was great. I didn't know what to expect. I asked Jake (Baker). He walked on too down at Troy. Overall, it was fun and cool getting out there learning new things and adjusting to the size and speed of the game."

A defensive lineman at 5-10 and 280 pounds, Fergerson can bench press 275 pounds and squat 455 pounds. In addition to the workout regimen and practice schedule, he sticks to a strict diet. While back home in Tallassee, Fergerson was recently offered pizza but avoided the temptation.

"I eat something light before workouts in the morning like a nutri-grain bar or banana. After that I usually have grilled chicken and rice for carbs. For dinner, I eat some beef not a big meal. I drink a lot of water and Powerade after weights."

A balanced diet goes along with balancing coursework and football.

"You have to be dedicated making time to study and making time for extra work too. It's not just what you do in the weight room. I like to read the bible in my spare time."

For those that follow Fergerson, they are familiar with his strong faith. He regularly posts scripture on his Facebook page.

"It not only helps me but other people. I get messages from people that say they really needed that today or that scripture really touched me. That really touches me knowing something like that can have such a big impact. I like spreading God's word.

"My senior year (at Tallassee), Jeff Baker said, 'There is a spiritual leader on this team. You know who you are. And, you need to step up.' I felt like I didn't step up other than praying over the pregame meal and after we'd break it down after practice and games. After that, I promised God if I ever got the opportunity to play football again, I'd be that spiritual leader. I've been trying to do that at JSU."

Fergerson (97) at practice

Fergerson is majoring in Sports Management and Recreational Studies.

"I hope to be an athletic director or even an NFL or MLB scout because I love football and baseball. I love looking at numbers. If God ordains me to, I'd love to be a youth minister to preach and talk to young kids about Christ and getting them to know him."

Former classmate Dylan Hathcock is also on the JSU campus with Fergerson. Hathcock plays baseball.

"I don't see him that much. We're both athletes and busy throughout the day. I'll see him driving around or coming out of weights. In spring we had 7:30 weights. They had 6:30. When they were coming out, we were coming in. We text back and forth."

Fergerson got back to watch Tallassee's game vs. Charles Henderson last year. He hopes to travel to Roanoke for the Tigers' second game vs. Handley this season.

Jacksonville State opens its season on Aug. 29 at Southeast Louisiana.