By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
CHRIS Ferguson did not hear his name called during the recent virtual NFL draft, but the former Cincinnati Bearcat still has hopes of catching on to an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent.
A total of 255 players were selected over the three-day 2020 NFL Draft but hundreds gain opportunities every year following the draft and are invited to training camps as undrafted free agent signees.
NFL.com’s Media senior analyst, Gil Brandt, ranks Ferguson at No.22 among unsigned offensive tackles. Thus far, 11 of the 41 listed offensive tackles have signed with teams.
Prior to the draft, the 6’5” 315-pound Ferguson said there had been 15-20 teams that have shown interest in him, but five or six of those teams have been following his progress.
Chris Ferguson concluded his collegiate football career on a high note when his No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats dominated the Boston College Eagles 38-6 in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama. He led an offensive line that helped lead the way with a total of 343 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. It marked the third bowl game appearance for Ferguson during his tenure with the programme.
Ferguson was able to return for his sixth season when he was granted an eligibility-extension waiver by the NCAA because of injuries suffered earlier in his career.
He began the season with four starts this season at both left and right tackle, but missed two games against UCF and Houston with an ankle injury. Since his return, he has played at several positions along the offensive line.
The Bearcats also defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 35-31 in the PlayStation Military Bowl to conclude the 2019 season. The win came four years following the 2015 Military Bowl loss when the Hokies defeated the Bearcats 33-17. Ferguson was a freshman at the time.
As a freshman, he was initially recruited as three-star recruit on the defensive line, following his senior season at Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Florida when he recorded 17 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
After a redshirt true freshman season, he shifted to the offensive line but did not see playing time in the 2015-17 seasons.
Ferguson won the starting job at right tackle in the following offseason and went on to start 11 games. He was also one of 10 members of the Bearcats football team to earn his degree (criminal justice) in April 2018.
“Being a kid, growing up in The Bahamas and turning on the television to see football players, is how I grew up,” Ferguson said prior to the draft. “There aren’t many football players in The Bahamas, so you can’t play football in high school and go off. Doing this and being able to make my dream come true and make it to the NFL is a goal of mine. I just hope I can help other kids back home in The Bahamas, help fulfil their dreams of playing in the NFL.”