When Nebraska’s coaching staff took over the program, fans may have forgotten about linebacker Tyrin Ferguson.
The reasons behind that can be explained. When he was a newcomer back in 2015, he was a guy that caught media and fans’ attention right away. There were high hopes for him as someone who would contribute to the team right away. Ferguson did contribute his freshman season on special teams but didn’t make the type of immediate splash many anticipated.
Then in 2016 while he was playing middle linebacker in Nebraska’s 4-3 defense, he asked then head coach Mike Riley if he could take a redshirt year. In 2017, Ferguson only appeared in five games all season while slowed with a hamstring injury. That season also brought a new position as he moved to outside linebacker.
After all of that, it’s understandable how fans may have let the New Orleans native slip their minds. Now,Ferguson is slated as the starting outside linebacker in the Huskers multiple 3-4 defense and he’s had a fast rise up the ranks under the new coaching staff.
“He is a work ethic guy,” Scott Frost said. "He has come to work, done his job, put out effort as well as anybody on the team. He’s earned his spot. When depth charts come out, particularly the way we practice, with as many reps as we get, there’s very little decision-making among the coaches. There’s very little we have to decide. The decisions already made by the number of reps that the guys get. In almost every case the players can see it too, so the guys that are on the top line of that depth chart have earned that and I think every coach and every player can see that.”
Outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt, has only been coaching Ferguson for about eight months at this point, but he has seen the most growth in the fourth-year player.
“Well [in the past] I think he’s always been a pretty good player," Dewitt said. "I think it’s how his mental approach has maybe been elevated in recent months. He’s starting to understand more and more everyday conceptually what we are doing in the defense. That’s his biggest asset right now.”
One of the things Frost’s staff said repeatedly when they took the job at Nebraska was that players would have a clean slate when being evaluated by the coaching staff. Based on the comments Tuesday by defensive coordinator Erik Chinander, that was a positive thing for Ferguson.
“You always hear a lot about guys when you get here and all that kind of stuff," Chinander said. "Whatever we heard about him, the slate was wiped clean. He’s put his nose to the grindstone and went to work. He’s done what we’ve asked him to do. He’s a really good practice player. He tries to get guys fired up and he’s hustling around. I love his attitude."
Now Ferguson has to turn his good practice habits into results on Saturday. Based on his hard work to get to this point, it would be unwise to bet against him.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.