Top 20 prep football players countdown: Gaje Ferguson

The top 20 blueprint wasn’t necessarily based strictly on recruiting interest, although it did play into account, but rather a collection of players that influence the outcome each Friday night in the realm of Utah high school football.

I’ll publish a blog post each day unveiling the top 20 impact players in the state — in no particular order — in my unabashed opinion. All selections are entirely my own. Submit your feedback in the comment section below and I’ll respond accordingly.

Now, without further adieu:

20. Korey Rush, East. Defensive End.

19. Baron Gajkowski, Lone Peak. Quarterback.

18. Gaje Ferguson, Mountain Crest. Running back; outside linebacker.

Mountain Crest's Gaje Ferguson, No.23 right, dives for a tackle.

Mountain Crest’s Gaje Ferguson, No.23 right, dives for a tackle.

Nitty-gritty: 6-feet, 185-pounds; undeclared.

Qualifications: The best comparison for Ferguson is Tyrann Mathieu — on the field of course — he’s the honey badger of Utah high school football. He’s undersized — 6-feet is very generous — and currently overlooked in recruiting databases. However, Ferguson possesses that animalistic instinct that is often present in all great linebackers. In other words he’s a playmaker that can flip the switch for the Mustangs with a field-shifting sack, an interception, a deflected pass off the edge or a forced fumble.

As a junior he was named Deseret News First-Team All-State with 51 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions, and was arguably the best defender (Faimafili Laulu-Pututau wasn’t too shabby either) on a Mustangs defense that allowed 12.6 points per game last year.

What makes Ferguson special is his versatility. He spelled 4A MVP Eddy Hall occasionally in the backfield, and was slipperier than an amphibian in the open field. On 66 carries he rumbled for 334 yards and six touchdowns, but was most valuable in the blocking game at fullback.

In 2013, following the massive attrition rate from graduation, Ferguson inherits a more prominent role as the featured back on offense, which he’ll toggle with his primary linebacking responsibilities. With the uncertainties surrounding the offense — stripped of all contributing skill players except Ferguson and Nick Taylor — Mountain Crest is depending on Ferguson’s production, especially early on.

Many believe the Mustangs are poised to repeat as Region 5 champions, and for that prediction to come to fruition Ferguson may have to elevate his game to an even higher level his senior season.

Email: tphibbs@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @TPhibbsDNews

13 comments

  1. Gene Ashton

    Gaje Ferguson is one of the best football players in high school football. He has great talent, but that is only enhanced by his dedication and work ethic for the game that is second to none. He has a great understanding of the game and a great feel for the field. Most of all, he has the heart for the game, something that you cannot coach into any athlete.

  2. Danny Macfarlane

    I couldn’t agree more with this article about Gaje. I watched most of his games last year. He has the ability to change the dynamic of a game with his athleticism and will to win. I expect he will have an amazing senior season.

  3. MC Baller

    I know this stud, and yes he is a very skilled and hard working player, but being his bro, everyone should know what he really plays for, and that’s his younger brothers who were tragically taken in a car accident a few years back, and I don’t know if there is anyone else is the state who is playing with that kind of fire within them.

  4. Ferguson Fan

    As the article states very clearly this is a special athlete with a focused mission worthy of none other. A key point of interest is that no other high school athlete last year played with such mass energy expenditure with huge roles in both offense and defense as the starting Full-Back and also starting as outside linebacker. Gaje Ferguson continued to be a huge play maker on defense and on offense the entire game, every game! Their is no other single high school football player that amassed the accumulation of rushing yards, catches, offensive blocks, defensive sacks, hurries and tackles game after game on both sides of the line and still managed to receive all-state linebacker acknowledgment. This year will be even more exciting to watch this athlete honor Mountain Crest football tradition, it’s not how big the dog is but how big the dog hits. As the journalist mentions Gaje is the “Honey Badger” which is tenacious, ferocious and unstoppable! Good luck to a well deserved athlete this coming season.

  5. The Bear Lake Wrestling DOMINATOR

    I have been known to teach Gaje a few things when it comes to the wrestling mat or in the hard sand at Bear Lake, but will have to admitt that the unbelievable talent, abilities and heart of this athlete on the football field did not come from me!! I have had the chance to get to know Gaje over the last 18 years and there is no doubt in my mind that this kid has more than just the drive and instinct to play football. Gaje is the hardest working kid on the team is a true leader who many look up to for that extra drive that they need. He puts the time in that an athlete needs to be ready for what ever comes his way on the field. He has shown that time and time again over the years and I look forward to being able to fly up from Phoenix a few times this year just to watch this BIG kid. He will have an amazing season!

  6. Quentin T.

    I’ve had the opportunity to watch a large number of high school football athletes over the years and Gaje Ferguson is truly a specimen to watch. Even to a novice spectator of the sport it isn’t difficult to quickly take notice that Gaje is a standout athlete. I am looking forward to several athletes this football season to watch, but the one I look forward to the most this season would have to be Gaje Ferguson. In reading the comments posted I would agree with them all but I would also add that my biggest reason is his number #23 is always being heard over the intercom making big plays offensively and defensively. Like the previous comments made I would agree Gaje is one of the only football players who has the physicality, tenacity and ability to play at a high level an entire game in a dominating fashion both ways. Good luck #23 for offense and defense this season.

  7. Boise Fan

    After reading all the comments I couldn’t agree more. The one thing I would add is that Gaje plays smart. His best plays are the ones where he recieves no credit, like taking on a pulling guard and turning the play back into his teamates or helping a teamate get a sack because he made the right drop in coverage. Good luck this season Gaje. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish.

  8. BYU CougFan

    I have seen Gaje play many times and he is outstanding. I would love to see him playing for BYU. I think he would be an outstanding KAT safety or free safety for the Cougars. He is very driven to succeed and consistently makes big plays, causing problems for opposing offenses. He is a hard hitter and is also quick and has all the intangibles to be a star performer at the college level. He is a very exciting player to watch and really stands out on and off the field.

  9. Gaje's BIGGEST Fan Titan

    I concur with the previous comment. I have seen Gaje hit and he does hit like a freight train on NOS!!! I have no doubt that he would be an animal at the next level. Not only that but he is mentally into every play also.

  10. Ben Peterson

    I’ve seen alot of high school football in my day, having had relationships with many young men in both the church and high school events, supporting them in various sport and educational aspects…but I don’t believe I’ve ever enjoyed watching any single human being in any sport as I’ve found myself watching the tremendous talents of Gage Ferguson. This young spartan warrior promotes inspiration in his abilities on the field. it’s like coming out of a Rocky Balboa movie all hopped up and full of adrenaline that spreads like an infection to all I know after a game i’ve just watched Gage Ferguson own the field!! I’m looking so forward to this pinnacle season for him…he should have us all loosing our voices following any game he inspires us to witness!!

  11. Lofthouse

    Gaje, YOU THE MAN!!!! CARRY ON THE RICH WINNING TRADITION AT MOUNTAIN CREST!!!! PROUD OF YOU MAN!!!!

  12. PigskinFan

    Watched this kid last year and at the Weber 7on7 tourney in the spring, he is an absolute stud football player. Big, Fast, and Strong. Looking forward to watching the first home game against Syracuse. I can see MC beating that overrated Syracuse team, that was embarrassed in the championship game last year.

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