Ferguson brothers' strong connection

Recruiters know Riley Ferguson. Now if they could just get to know Zach Ferguson.

Zach is often the target of his little brother, Riley, the ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback from Matthews (N.C.) Butler.

Zach, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver, has 53 receptions for 932 yards and 11 touchdowns, but no scholarship offers late into his senior season.

"I tell everybody about my brother," Riley said of conversations he's had with college recruiters. "He's getting recruited but nobody's offering him. I don't know why. If somebody doesn't offer him, it's going to be unbelievable."

Butler coach Brian Hales thinks it's just a matter of time before Zach gets an official invite.

"Definitely," Hales said. "I also feel that the type of person he is and how hard he works, he's going to get rewarded at some point. I think he's going to make somebody look awfully smart and a lot of guys are going to regret that they didn't pull the trigger on him.

"He is going to get his offer. When he gets that first one, the rest are going to come in. Nobody, it seems, wants to be that first one. It's going to happen. I feel really confident in that."

Zach posted a 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash this summer, which certainly didn't help his stock among college recruiters. He believes he's much faster now, and as far as overall athleticism, Hales believes Zach has plenty.

Zach is known for his ability to catch the ball at its highest point, especially around the end zone.

"I think his hands," Riley said when asked what stands out about his brother. "I can throw it anywhere around his body and he's going to catch it. I know that for a fact. And how big he is. It's hard for corners to check him because how big and physical he is.

"All I really have to do is throw it up to him. If he's running a fade or something, I can throw it back shoulder or I can throw it high. I can throw it anywhere and he's going to catch it. I know he is."

Said Zach, "I knew my brother was going to throw it to me so we're just going to keep it up and keep it going."

Riley's recruitment continues to gain steam. He has scholarship offers from Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Louisville.

He's visited Clemson, Virginia Tech and Michigan but still needs to look around a bit more before he starts to whittle down his list.

"I need to go to the other schools and see how their facilities are and things like that," he said. "I'll base my decision off that."

Clemson certainly made an impression during his visit there.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I like the atmosphere. It's just a big family there. When you go there, it just feels like you're at home. I like Clemson a lot."

Virginia Tech also made a favorable impression with its facilities, as did Michigan.

"I walked around Michigan's campus and they showed me all the facilities," Riley said. "I liked that a lot. It's a big, big campus."

LSU, however, has a subtle pull at Riley's heart that no school will be able to match.

"LSU is my first offer," he said. "That's important to me. I got that offer when I was only a freshman, so I was real excited about that."

Ferguson has continued to grow as a quarterback after an incredibly hectic sophomore season in which he was thrust into a starting role after Christian LeMay, who is now a freshman at Georgia, was suspended. All Ferguson did was lead Butler to an undefeated season and a state title.

Yet there was still room for improvement as he came into his junior year. That's why Hales started allowing Ferguson to call plays during two-minute drills. The maturity showed up when Ferguson deftly chose efficient plays, not just deep routes.

Then there was a series of plays last month in which Ferguson truly showed his moxie. It came right after a bad interception.

"He shouldn't have thrown it," Hales said. "He had no business throwing it. He was getting drug to the ground. He had an idea where the open receiver was and he tried to get it out there and hit a D-lineman right in the chest with it and the kid took it about 50 yards for a score.

"But I couldn't get mad at him. We get the ball back and we go 75 yards in about a minute and a half. He's just throwing strike after strike after strike. He's the kind of kid if you take the previous drive away from him, you're also taking away the kid that's going to go 75 yards in a minute and a half when you have to have it to win. He's just confident, maybe borders on cocky sometimes."

Ferguson is every bit as confident in his brother as he is himself. That's why the two have considered going to the same school, even if Zach has to go as a walk-on.

"It's definitely a possibility," Zach said. "I know a lot of big schools don't want to look at me because of my speed. Walking on is definitely a possibility."

That would certainly not be ideal. Zach would like to be a scholarship athlete. He has seen interest from Duke, Vanderbilt and Towson recently. Yet continuing to play with little bro has its appeal as well.

"From a young age, we've been playing sports together," Zach said. "Now in high school, I love it."

Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at davehookerespn@gmail.com.