By the time Chanler Ferguson arrives on a college campus this fall, the Atlantic linebacker will have 14 years of football experience under his belt.
The 2015 Palm Beach Post All-Area Large Schools Defensive Player of the Year began playing the sport at age 4, and moved seamlessly from flag football to tackle football.
By his sophomore season with the Eagles, Ferguson was drawing national attention.
He received his first letter from a Division I school — Georgia — as a 10th-grader, and since has picked up six offers, among them Akron, FAU, Toledo and Middle Tennessee State.
Ferguson doesn’t have a favorite among that group, and expects to take his time before finalizing his decision. National Signing Day is Feb. 3.
“I’m anxious to know where I’m going to end up,” he said. “I just want to know, but it doesn’t work that way. You never know what’s going to happen, especially with all the coaching changes.”
Wherever he ends up, Ferguson hopes to make as big an impact as he did at Atlantic.
A defensive leader since his sophomore year, he helped carry the Eagles to consecutive playoff appearances during the past two seasons.
Atlantic was District 13-7A runner-up and reached the regional semifinals in 2014, and this season clinched the District 10-8A title and advanced to the regional championship game. The Eagles finished 12-1.
“It’s been a pleasure playing with these boys,” said Ferguson, who finished the season with 110 tackles, five interceptions and one defensive touchdown. “They’re my brothers. It felt like a big family.”
Ferguson credits coach T.J. Jackson and the Atlantic coaching staff for helping him excel athletically and academically.
He’s been able to balance the demands of school and sports while at Atlantic — Ferguson also has wrestled for the Eagles — and hopes to continue in college.
“Being a part of this program really changed me off the field,” said Ferguson, who plans to study architecture. “I’ve made better decisions. I’ve learned that decisions have consequences. I’ve learned a lot on and off the field.”
First Team Defense
Josh Crutchfield, Park Vista, Sr., DL – Cobras’ defensive anchor finished with 65 tackles and 11 sacks. His offers include Temple and South Alabama.
Dion Goldbourne, Atlantic, Sr., DL – Recorded a team-leading 17 sacks, and added three forced fumbles and a defensive touchdown.
Jonathan Garvin, Lake Worth, Jr., DL – Dominant defensive end finished with 93 tackles, nine sacks and six forced fumbles.
K’Jakyre Daly, Suncoast, Jr., DL – He led the Chargers with 12 sacks and 33 tackles for loss. Finished with 72 total tackles and two forced fumbles.
Vandarius Cowan, Palm Beach Gardens, Jr., LB – The four-star recruit led the Gators in tackles with 102, and also had two forced fumbles.
Alex Brosseau, Wellington, Sr., LB – Recorded 100 tackles for the district runner-up Wolverines. He holds a Valparaiso offer.
Zach McCloud, Santaluces, Sr., LB – The four-star recruit anchored the Chiefs’ defense this season. Has committed to play at UM.
Devin Studstill, Palm Beach Gardens, Sr., DB – Hard-hitting Notre Dame commit finished with 29 tackles and one interception. Also played wide receiver.
George Hunter, Atlantic, Jr., DB – Starred at safety for the Eagles, finishing with 87 tackles, three interceptions and three sacks.
Datrone Young, Atlantic, Jr., DB – Recorded 53 tackles, three interceptions and one defensive touchdown for the Eagles.
Da’Von Brown, Royal Palm Beach, Sr., DB – A two-way standout for the Wildcats, the FAU commit finished with 77 tackles and two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns.
Second Team Defense
Noah Curtis, Palm Beach Lakes, Jr., DL
Elijah Jones, Boca Raton, Sr., DL
Tyler Somers, Wellington, Sr., DL
Vince Hulme, Forest Hill, Sr., DL
Bryan Sullivan, West Boca Raton, Sr., LB
Josh Powell, Suncoast, Jr., LB
Tommy Morelli, Olympic Heights, Jr., LB
Amari Carter, Palm Beach Gardens, Jr., DB
Charles Barnes, Boca Raton, Sr., DB
Rubens Jerome, Olympic Heights, Jr., DB
McGinnis Albert, Boca Raton, Sr., DB
DL: Christian Perez, Palm Beach Gardens; Jamal Gates, Dwyer; Austin Chin, West Boca Raton; Jason Merie, Boynton Beach; Randy Oliver, Jupiter; Rasheed Alcine, Spanish River; Matt Rier, Palm Beach Central. LB: Stanley Bullard, Boca Raton; Marlon Eugene, Royal Palm Beach; Ben Panitz, Palm Beach Central; Jaquell Parrish, Atlantic; Oakley Lavallii, West Boca Raton; Kevin Norris, Boynton Beach; Roy Sweeney, Palm Beach Gardens; Brandon Bechtel, Park Vista; Quentin Thaddies, Atlantic; Kevin Fiddis, Dwyer; Alec Malynn, Wellington; Jerrod Ferguson, Atlantic; Chase Johnston, Seminole Ridge. DB: Angelo Tolbert, Dwyer; Gurvan Hall, Palm Beach Lakes; Cedric Dort, Dwyer; Chase Sanders, Jupiter; Jon Jones, Forest Hill; Maxel Wells, Atlantic; Jequan Gray, John I. Leonard; Joey Schergen, Seminole Ridge; Brandon Ruditz, Boca Raton.