College football programs put a big emphasis on recruiting character guys. Michigan has clearly found one in St. Clairsville (OH) High running back and linebacker Michael Ferns.
During the fourth quarter of an Oct. 5 game against Richmond Edison High, Ferns appeared on his way to his 12th touchdown of the season but opted to slow up and walk out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Why? So that freshman teammate Logan Thompson could score a touchdown in honor of his father, who had died of a stroke two days prior to the game.
St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean had secretly encouraged any of his players with a clear path to the end zone to stop short and give Thompson a chance to score. When Ferns made good on that strategy, two confused officials signaled a touchdown — a ruling that Ferns’ teammates protested adamantly.
“I think it’s the first time that the refs have seen our boys argue against us getting a touchdown,” McLean told USA Today’s Jason Jordan. “I told Logan, ‘We’re gonna get you in the end zone.’ ”
Sure enough, Thompson scored from one yard out on the next play, with Ferns clearing the way as a blocking fullback. It was the first touchdown of Thompson’s high school varsity career.
It was one that his teammates, including a Wolverines recruit, will remember forever.