While all may not be going well for the Panthers in the Won/Loss column, Ferrum has some definite bright spots emerging on both sides of the ball. Some of this year's recruiting class are already seeing a lot of playing time, and many have earned starting jobs. Here is a look at some of the Freshmen making an impact.
#9 Jacquan Martin- Running Back South Stokes H.S. (NC)
Martin is seeing some playing time, and came to Ferrum after a solid high school career. Having seen action in 4 of Ferrum's first five games, Martin is establishing himself as a back that will be a future difference maker for the Panthers.
#15 Mason James- Defensive Back Seabreeze H.S. (FL)
One of three recruits from Seabreeze High School, James has appeared in three games this season, but seemed to find his footing against Maryville, as he recorded 4 tackles.
#16 Rashad Johnson- Defensive Back Stonewall Jackson H.S. (VA)
Johnson has come out of the gates on fire. As a starter in the first five games, he has 49 tackles, 3 pass break ups, and 1 interception. Look for this freshman to only get better. He is an important part of the Ferrum defensive renaissance.
#21 Shy Smith- Defensive Back Chatham H.S. (VA)
I first heard of Shy through one of his High School coaches, Ferrum alum Roger Keaton. He had high praise for Smith, and after 5 games, I see why. Starting all 5 games, he has 29 tackles, 1 pass break up, and 1 interception.
#39 Jacob Smoak- Kicker Brookland-Cayce H.S. (SC)
One of three kickers on the Panthers roster, Jacob is showing a strong ability to kick good distances with accuracy. So far, Smoak is 2 of 3 in field goals, with his longest being 35 yards.
#45 Raul Gonzalez- Linebacker Seabreeze H.S. (FL)
Another one of the Seabreeze H.S. "Florida Boys", Gonzalez is really developing as a solid linebacker. Gonzalez earned a starting job as middle linebacker in the second game of the season and since then has 27 tackles 2 sacks, and 1 quarterback hurry. Look for Gonzalez to continue to develop, and have a major impact.
#55 Al Matthews- Defensive Lineman Franklin County H.S. (VA)
A local Franklin County product, Matthews is making the coaches of Franklin County High School proud, as well as the Ferrum coaches. Having started all 5 games, Matthews has recorded 33 tackles and 2 sacks. Look for him to continue to be a thorn in the side of opponents.
#96 Montel Lee- Defensive Lineman Andalusia H.S. (AL)
Having played in all five games, "The Alabama Wildman" is getting a lot of folks attention....especially the opposing teams. At the mid point of the season, he has 30 tackles....14 of which are tackles for a loss of yardage, and two sacks. Look for him to just get better as time goes on.
Other freshmen that I feel will be making an impact in the near future include Ben Pulley, Josh Bare, Stephen DiCenzo, Brian Roberts, Kyle Smith, and Jackson Lowther
This list only makes up a small portion of the incoming freshman class. This was, in my opinion one of the best recruiting classes in a while. It takes time, but Ferrum is building a strong foundation. It is a process, and if the freshmen will stick with the process, Ferrum will get better. Player retention is a issue when all you do is practice and there are no scholarships, but Ferrum, right now has the potential to be strong. I say this as the record is 0-5, but the improvements they are showing will only be enhanced if players stay committed to the program.