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National Signing Day 2017: TE Jake Ferguson signs with Wisconsin

Sure, he’s Barry Alvarez’s grandson. He’s also one of the best commits the Badgers signed for this class.

jake ferguson opening 2016 Student Sports

Class of 2017 TE Jake Ferguson

Position Height Weight School 247Sports Composite Rank
Position Height Weight School 247Sports Composite Rank
TE 6'5 220 Madison Memorial (Wis.) Three stars; No. 12 TE

The Wisconsin Badgers didn’t have to travel far to land a tight end for the class of 2017. Jake Ferguson, the sixth commit of the class, played his high school football at Madison Memorial. And when you add in the family bloodlines of being Joe Ferguson’s brother and Barry Alvarez’s grandson, it seemed fated that he was going to be a Badger.

When you have a move tight end who was one of the best athletes at The Opening in Chicago—garnering an invitation to The Opening finals in Beaverton, Ore.—you have someone with the potential to be a major problem for linebackers and safeties in an offense that loves to throw to tight ends. Something that warrants mentioning is that Ferguson is also tough enough to play outside linebacker on defense, garnering 80 tackles on the season in eight games played.


247Sports (composite): Three stars; Grade 0.8875; No. 352 player in nation; No. 12 TE; No. 2 in WI

247Sports: Four stars; Grade 94; No. 122 player in nation; No. 4 tight end in nation; No. 1 player in Wisconsin

ESPN: Four stars; Grade 80; No. 6 tight end in nation; No. 32 player in Midwest; No. 3 player in Wisconsin

Rivals: Three stars; No. 24 tight end in nation; No. 5 player in Wisconsin

Scout: Three stars; No. 16 tight end in nation; No. 5 tight end in the Midwest region; No. 1 tight end in Wisconsin

Verbally committed on March 31, 2016

The Badgers landed Ferguson’s commitment before his recruiting truly took off. Notre Dame and Oklahoma were kicking the tires on a potential commitment, and Alabama was willing to come to Madison to see what exactly Ferguson had, and the commitment and subsequent shutdown of the process was before the camp success at The Opening. Wisconsin beat out Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska among others to earn the commitment.

Madison Memorial didn’t have the type of season that led to playoff glory because of the fall-off experienced at quarterback, but Ferguson did a little bit of everything for the Spartans. He lined up all over the field on offense, played quality linebacker and even punted when fourth down came along.

Video highlights


2016 The Opening finalist

2016 preseason all-state (first team at wide receiver; second team at linebacker)

2015 honorable mention all-state

2015 All Big-Eight (first team at wide receiver and linebacker)

Bio (courtesy of

High School: Four-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN, three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout … selected for finals of Nike’s The Opening, rating as No. 2 tight end nationally … finished career with 1,795 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns … defensively, tallied 314 total tackles, 29 TFLs, 5 sacks, 5 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles … as a junior, named first-team All-Big 8 Conference as a wide receiver and linebacker … made All-Southwest Region at wide receiver by Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior … caught 63 passes for 991 yards and 8 TDs as a junior, while also recording 99 tackles and 6 TFLs … second-team All-Big 8 as a sophomore … finished sophomore season with 133 tackles, including 22 TFLs and 2 sacks, and 3 interceptions … three-year team captain … earned honorable mention all-conference honors in basketball as a junior … also lettered in baseball … coach was Adam Smith