Jazz Ferguson hits the NFL spotlight Saturday at Combine

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Jazz Ferguson #1

INDIANAPOLIS – In his one season at Northwestern State, Jazz Ferguson quickly played his way into the spotlight on the way to All-America honors in a record-breaking fall.

Saturday, he hits the Lucas Oil Stadium field planning to make a strong impression in his first outing on a national stage, competing among 48 draft-eligible wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine, with coaches and staff from the league’s teams getting a comprehensive on-field look as stopwatches, tape measures and scales help measure performances.

The focal test for receivers is often the 40-yard dash, where Ferguson has set a sub-4.4 second goal.

They’ll also go through the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle run and a 60-yard shuttle run.

Ferguson and the receivers arrived Thursday night and have gone through a variety of medical and mental and psychological testing, along with interviews with NFL team personnel, in the first two days.
Saturday’s action will be carried wire-to-wire from 8 a.m. until completion on the NFL Network with ABC providing coverage beginning at noon.

Ferguson made his Demon debut noteworthy on Aug. 30, catching a 71-yard touchdown at Texas A&M that was part of a 129-yard performance. He sat out the 2017 season after transferring from LSU, where he played nine games in two seasons, including a start against Auburn.

Ferguson is the first Demon to be invited to the Combine since Deon Simon in 2015. Simon’s impressive showing in front of personnel representing all 32 NFL teams led to him being drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets. He is a member of the Green Bay Packers.

“This is Jazz’s chance to show the NFL guys what he showed us each Saturday night,” said NSU coach Brad Laird. “This is a big opportunity for a guy who started one season in college, and there’s no doubt it can help him.

“The exposure he can get at the Combine, not just showing what he can do catching the football but in other things like the interview room, it enhances his chances of being drafted. He’ll get more exposure than when he was at NSU or LSU, and this is a great opportunity to show what he’s about on and off the field.”

Ferguson declared for the NFL Draft in early December, forgoing his senior season.

The 6-foot-5 receiver earned four different All-America honors as a junior during a season in which he compiled 1,117 receiving yards on 66 catches, scoring 13 touchdowns and averaging 101.5 yards receiving per game.

The St. Francisville native earned All-America nods from The Associated Press, Stats LLC, Phil Steele and Hero Sports.

“I went back and forth every day, trying to make the right decision. I went with my gut. My family, my brother, my teammates, the coaching staff, they’re all behind me and it felt way better to go ahead and make the call now than to continue to struggle with it,” Ferguson said on Dec. 4 when he announced his decision to enter the NFL Draft.

“I came here (NSU) and changed my life for the better. One of our trainers, Miss Ashley (Leggett), told me when I got here I had a dark cloud over my head, but I’ve come a long way since then. I’m a really good football player, but the biggest improvement is that I think I see the bigger picture. I’m emotional about football, I care about my teammates, I look for the best in everybody else and I try to set the right tone for the team.”

After transferring from LSU and sitting out one season at NSU, Ferguson set six school records while earning All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2018.

He ranked in the NCAA FCS top 20 in four stats — sixth in receiving touchdowns, ninth in receiving yards, 14th in receiving yards per game, and 20th in receptions per game (6).

Ferguson’s six NSU records includes touchdown catches, receiving yards per game, 100-yard receiving games (six), touchdown catches in a game (three against Abilene Christian).

Ferguson also produced two of his most productive games – 138 yards and 112 yards with two touchdowns each – against Southland Conference stalwarts Sam Houston State and McNeese. He caught the game-winner to topple the Cowboys in Turpin Stadium.

Ten Demons have been drafted since 2002, including three in the first five rounds.

David Pittman (2006, Baltimore Ravens) was the last NSU player to go in the first three rounds.

Of the 36 Demons drafted, John Stephens (1988, New England Patriots) was the highest pick ever, going 17th overall.

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