Josh Ferguson, a senior running back from Joliet Catholic, has committed to the University of Illinois.
Ferguson, who is 5’8″, 169 pounds, is the 23-ranked player in the state of Illinois and is among the best running backs in the state.
During his junior year, he rushed for 1,596 yards and 20 touchdowns on 178 carries, averaging 10 yards-per-rush. He had an outstanding 5A State Championship game, rushing for 107 yards.
Ferguson is a below average sized running back, but his size is misleading, because he is a well built, strong back.
With a 40-yard dash time lower than 4.5, he is known primarily for his speed and ability to change direction quickly and fluently.
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Houston Texans signed Josh Ferguson, another young offensive weapon at running back to their 10-man practice squad this week.
Ferguson played college football at the University of Illinois before deciding to enter to the 2016 NFL Draft, opting to sign with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent. In his first two seasons with the Colts, Ferguson had 16 carries for 25 yards, plus 23 receptions for 152 yards.
The Texans among the other 31 teams in the league cannot have enough running backs options in their active roster and scout team since the normal lifespan of running backs in the NFL is shorter due to the physical demand at that position. Ferguson is the first running back on the practice squad this season. To make room on the practice squad, the Texans released rookie defensive back Robert Jackson, who was signed to the practice squad a week ago.
Besides Ferguson, the Texans currently have wide receivers Malachi Dupre, Cyril Grayson, Isaac Whitney, tight end Jerrell Adams on the practice squad. Also for the offense on the practice squad are offensive lineman Kyle Fuller, Roderick Johnson and Chad Slade. Defensively the Texans only have outside linebacker Davin Bellamy and defensive back Andre Chachere on the practice squad.
Ferguson originally went undrafted out of Illinois in 2016 and signed on with the Indianapolis Colts, where he’d spend the first two years of his career. With Indy, Ferguson has been active for 26 games and has seen 16 carries for 25 yards. He’s also hauled in 23 of his 30 targets for 152 yards. He’s also shown the ability to contribute as a kick returner as he’s fielded nine kicks in his NFL career for 166 yards giving him a 18.4 yards per return average. Ferguson’s most recent stop in the NFL was with the Houston Texans’ practice squad.
A spot on the practice unit became open for Ferguson after the team released fellow running back Kenneth Farrow from the practice unit on Tuesday during their string of transactions on both their active roster and practice squad. Originally, the Patriots signed Kenneth Farrow to their 90-man roster to use as an extra body for their preseason finale against the Giants back over the summer. Shortly after that contest the team let him go during final roster cuts. In New England’s preseason finale against New York, Farrow was able to carry the football fives time for 24 yards, while catching all three of his targets for 14 yards.
After not making the opening day roster, the team brought Farrow back via the practice squad on Sept. 12, but his say with the team was cut short after they released him eight days later to make room for wide receiver Corey Coleman, who has since been let go by New England himself. Farrow made his way back onto the practice squad, but is now suffering a familiar fate.
While Ferguson is the newest running back to hit the practice squad for the Patriots, a former preseason favorite is also garnering interest around the NFL. According to Howard Balzer, rookie Ralph Webb tried out for the Cleveland Browns this week as he continues to find a more permanent home in the league. The Vanderbilt product did start the year on New England’s practice squad after a promising preseason where he was able to total 102 yards rushing, while catching five passes for 28 yards and three total touchdowns.
As for Ferguson, he nows joins a Patriots practice squad that consists of linebackers Ufomba Kamalu and Calvin Munson along with offensive tackle Eric Smith, quarterback Danny Elting, tight end Stephen Anderson, cornerback Jomal Wiltz, defensive back David Jones and defensive linemen Frank Herron and Trent Harris.
Ferguson spent the majority of the season on Houston’s practice squad and now will have a chance to make the 2019 roster. The 25-year-old running back has 16 carries for 25 yards and 23 receptions for 152 yards during his short career, though he failed to spend any time on an NFL roster this season.
Indianapolis announced the roster moves on Wednesday. The Colts waived the 24-year-old on Wednesday when they signed free agent wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. Indianapolis originally signed the University of Cincinnati star on Aug. 14. The 6-foot, 220-pound running back had 42 carries for 165 yards and two scores and two receptions for 14 yards in five games in 2017 with the Detroit Lions.
Ferguson — who will land on the Colts’ injured reserve list if he clears waivers — has 16 carries for 25 yards and 23 catches for 152 yards in 26 career NFL appearances, all for the Colts over the last two seasons. He also has 166 yards on nine kickoff returns. He joined the Colts in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois.
The Colts’ unofficial depth chart includes Marlon Mack starting at running back with Robert Turbin listed as a second-string option. The Colts’ reserve running backs include Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Christine Michael and Brandon Oliver.
Turbin is suspended for four games, while Mack is dealing with a hamstring issue.