Demons playing the Jazz

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NATCHITOCHES (KALB) -- It has been a long time coming for Jazz Ferguson.

It was January of last season that the wide receiver from St. Francisville announced that he was heading to Northwestern State after two seasons of sitting the bench at LSU. The hope was to get on the field for the Demons right away in 2017. Instead, he's got a year at NSU under his belt, but still waiting to step on the Turpin Stadium turf for the first time.

Finally, it appears that time will be coming sooner rather than later.

As the Demons go through fall camp, it doesn't take long to notice the 6-foot-5 Ferguson. Whether he is making a highlight reel catch, conversing with his other receivers, or dancing to the music blaring over the PA system, he is an easy guy to spot. That energy stemming from an excitement of the upcoming season where Ferguson plans to make his mark for the first time on the college level.

A three-star recruit out of West Feliciana High School, Ferguson signed with LSU ahead of the 2015 season, expecting to cut out a role as a deep passing threat and a tenacious run blocker on the perimeter. That never really materialized and after making just two receptions in as many seasons, Ferguson sought out opportunities to play elsewhere, and eventually whittled his choices down to Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.

Ferguson originally got on NSU's radar following a call made to the coaching staff by Demons' Safety Ryan Reed, who had grew up and played with Ferguson at West Feliciana. That familiarity was strengthened further with NSU's hiring of receivers coach Alvin Slaughter, who had worked with Ferguson as an assistant at LSU.

Going to NSU also meant that Ferguson would not have to sit out a season due to transfer rules as opposed to Louisiana Tech. In hindsight it was too easy of a decision.

Unfortunately, things did not go according plan.

Ferguson ultimately did end up sitting out for the entirety of the 2017 campaign, not because of anything he did on the field, rather what he didn't do off of it. Before the season began, he was declared academically ineligible.

The journey just got longer.

Facing a crossroads, Ferguson spent this spring and summer working to bring his grades up, all while playing a balancing act with fighting to prove his worth as a football player under a new head coach in Brad Laird. He passed those initial tests, but the work now shifts to maintaining that pace.

And as the Demons countdown until the 2018 season opener at Texas A&M, it's been one with each passing day that seems to be moving at a snail's pace. No one though may be teeming with more anticipation for that Thursday night in College State more than Ferguson. It's been nearly two full years since he last played in a collegiate football game.

Finally, it looks like that will come to an end and his career can get the renaissance that he so desperately craves.