There's a growing list of sports activities you probably shouldn't take part in while Tavarus Ferguson is around. That is, if you want to keep your dignity.
Opposing quarterbacks learned quickly they shouldn't throw his way when Ferguson was at defensive back. Opposing players on the basketball court had trouble matching his athleticism.
One thing people might not know is that you probably shouldn't bowl against him, either. Ferguson perks up when talking about bowling: "I have Nationals in July," said the bowler with an average in the 180s.
While he loves the sport, he admits it will take a backseat in the fall. That's because yet another sport in which he excels -- track and field -- has afforded Ferguson the opportunity to attend Gardner-Webb University on an athletic scholarship.
On Thursday, the recent Evans High School graduate signed a letter of intent to compete with the track team at the Boiling Springs, N.C., school in the fall.
"Really, football is my favorite sport," Ferguson said. "I really wasn't a track person until probably my 11th-grade year, when I figured out I was good at it. ... I have a great opportunity to make something of myself, and I think that's what made me decide to do track."
Ferguson cites his sophomore year because that's when his family moved to the area from Washington state. With his parents, Clyde and Brenda, in the military, Ferguson moved around a lot. He said playing sports gave him a natural avenue to make friends in a new environment.
Ferguson was a starter for the Evans basketball team, playing small forward and some power forward, and he was a receiver and star defensive back for the football squad.
In track, he ran sprint events -- the 100 meters and the 4x100 team relay -- but excelled the most in jumping events. He started competing in long jump in 10th grade and triple jump in 11th grade. By the time he finished his senior year at Evans, he held the school record by a large margin in both -- 22-3 in the long jump and 44-103/8 in the triple jump.
At the Region 3-AAAA meet, Ferguson won the triple jump, was second in the long jump and finished seventh in the 100 meters. Evans' 4x100 relay team finished third; had they won, Ferguson would have finished the meet with the most individual points.
He attributes at least some of his improvement in such a short time to the help of Rene Gholston, a track coach at Butler High School. The two worked on his technique during spring break.
"She helped me out a lot," he said. "It helped me with my confidence more than anything."
Ferguson knows he'll compete in the jumping events in college, and he also hopes to do some sprinting.
"He's one of those guys coaches wish they had all four years, because he was a phenomenal athlete," said Eric Watson, who coaches the track team alongside Ryan Bennett and serves as a football assistant coach.
"When you get somebody who can do all three (sports), have a smile on his face and keep his grades up, it's great," Watson said.
Bennett detailed Ferguson's leadership on the track team. When he wasn't training, Ferguson would help the girls team with its jumping techniques.
"It was great," Bennett said. "He loved to help, and they listened to him."
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