In the Ohio Valley region of Ohio and West Virginia, high school football is king. The crowned princes of this area hail from St. Clairsville.
Michael and Brendan Ferns were high school legends and two of the few Division I recruits from this area. The brothers, separated by three years, are now joining forces at West Virginia under head coach Dana Holgorsen.
After a heated recruiting battle between several schools, Brendan, who will graduate this spring, chose the Mountaineers on National Signing Day.
His older brother had a different route to WVU.
The Ferns brothers grew up as huge Mountaineer fans, living within an hour and a half of Morgantown. However, Michael originally went up north to Michigan. So, yes, he was a Wolverine for a short time.
The older Ferns eventually transferred to WVU and he sat out a season. This year, he will slowly become a part of the team’s offense as a fullback and tight end. Michael is now a redshirt sophomore and has three years of eligibility remaining.
Brendan, on the other hand, certainly has the potential to start right away for the Mountaineers. The WVU football team graduated all three starting linebackers from last season and could use new talent for 2016.
Holgorsen is already encouraged by Brendan’s upside and Michael’s current talent.
"”We’re really excited about them,” Holgorsen told The Intelligencer while making a stop in Wheeling. ”Michael is in competition for a tight end/running back spot. (Brendan is) an exceptional talent and we expect great things from him.”"
Both players dominated the high school ranks in St. Clairsville, playing both sides of the ball. Bigger than most teenagers, the Ferns brothers were able to bully their way on the field.
Obviously, that will change at the Division I level.
Both players were All-Americans and ranked in the Top 300 by ESPN. At WVU, now, they are just regular teammates trying to make an impact.
As Holgorsen said, he truly expects that to happen this season and in the future.