Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro junior Taurean Ferguson has the second-fastest time in the state in the 300-meters hurdles. He is also a top football recruit with offers from Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Akron.
Jonesboro junior Taurean Ferguson has to make up for some lost time.
Clayton County Track and Field Championship
When, where: Saturday, 9 a.m., and Monday, at 5 p.m., at Southern Crescent Stadium
Defending champs: Lovejoy boys won the title for the first time since 2003, its eighth overall in school history. Mundy’s Mill won the girls title.
Favorites: Boys — Many consider Lovejoy as the frontrunner for the title. Girls — It appears to be open, but Mundy’s Mill could repeat.
Sleepers: Boys — North Clayton and Drew as chief competitors. Drew has the top 400 relay team in the state, and several of its members should do well in individual events; Girls — Jonesboro and North Clayton should challenge.
Who to watch: Jadarius West of Drew has one of the fastest 100 meters times in the state. Jonesboro’s Taurean Ferguson could dominate in the hurdles event.
The latter part of his sophomore track and field season was cut short because of a leg injury. Ferguson, a two-sport standout, missed running in the region track meet, which would have given him the opportunity to qualify for the state meet.
So far, everything is going according to Ferguson’s plan as he heads into this weekend’s Clayton County Track and Field Championship.
He is the favorite to sweep both hurdles events.
“This season is going pretty good,” he said. “I feel like I’ve put up some good times. I know I can go faster.”
Ferguson has the state’s fifth-fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.63 seconds, according to ga.milesplit.com, a track and field website. His time of 38.58 in the 300 hurdles is the second-fastest in the state.
“I should get that down into the 37s,” Ferguson said. “The biggest difference in this season is that I’m a lot stronger at the end of my races. I’m developing that mental toughness to push through it.”
Most of it comes from being healthy.
He said he couldn’t develop some of the tangibles he needed last season because of injuries.
“Because of my injury, I wasn’t able to meet some of my goals,” Ferguson said.
He set out in the offseason to come back strong, especially with the help of a strong indoor season.
“Taurean deserves everything he has gotten this season,” Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said. “I’m very pleased at the hard work he has put in. He is definitely seeing it pay off for him.”
This spring has been really special for the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Ferguson. So far, he has gotten three college football offers. The cornerback/wide receiver has offers from Akron, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. He said several other schools like TCU, Iowa State, Florida, SMU and Cincinnati have shown interest.
In between weekend track meets, Ferguson will be making his rounds on the football camp circuit.
“I’m not surprised that I’ve gotten some offers, but alittle amazed that they have been this early,” he said.
Floyd, who also serves as the school’s football coach, said that most schools like him as a cornerback. Last season, he had 21 tackles, four interceptions, including two for touchdowns as the Cardinals finished as Region 4-AAAA runner-up. He also had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, including returning one for a touchdown.
On the offensive side of the ball, he had 12 catches for 205 yards and three touchdowns.
“He really stepped up last season,” Floyd said. “He was challenged each week, and he had the determination to make the plays.”
With most opponents shying away from the Cardinals’ all-state cornerback Cameron Sutton, Ferguson was put into the spotlight.
And he responded.
“He had a lot of chances to make plays,” Floyd said.
“I think I was able to show that I could play,” Ferguson said. “A lot of teams didn’t pay attention to me. I was able to show that I am a player.”
And the same could be said about his track season.