Eight months after announcing his plans to play football and continue his education at the University of Michigan, Kenton High School senior Noah Furbush made it official Wednesday morning.
The Wildcats’ standout linebacker, who earned All-Ohio Division IV Defensive Player of the Year honors this past fall, signed his national letter of intent to play for the Wolverines at 8 a.m. Wednesday, which is the first day that incoming freshman can officially sign with a college.
“It’s a good feeling,” Furbush said of signing his letter of intent. “It’s good to get it over with, but at the same time, I’m really enjoying the moment. It’s just been a tremendous experience and now it’s finally wrapped up and I’m a Wolverine.”
As a senior, the 6-4, 240-pounder, was a leader on the defensive side of the ball as the Wildcats rolled to a 13-1 mark that included a Western Buckeye League championship and a trip to the state semifinals.
Playing as an outside linebacker, Furbush averaged nearly nine tackles per games, had 30 tackles for a loss including 3 sacks and came up with three fumble recoveries.
As a junior, his only other year on the defensive side of the ball, Furbush averaged 11.5 tackles per game with 13 tackles for a loss.
Furbush said there is a lot to like about Michigan.
“It’s a very good athletic school, with a great engineering school which is what I intend to major in,” he said. “It’s very close to home being only two hours away and my brother (Tucker) is going to school in Flint. I also really liked the coaches and just bonded with them well and had a good experience with them.”
Kenton football head coach Mike Mauk said Michigan is getting a player with a solid work ethic who hasn’t reached his potential.
“He has a tremendous work ethic,” Mauk said. “He has a tremendous desire to be the very best and works hard every day at trying to make himself a better person, better athlete and better student.
“He’s grown and matured every year that he’s been in the program and has gotten better and done more,” the KHS coach added. “I think as great a job as he did here, and the success he had leading our football team, I think his best years are still yet to come. I think he’s still going to become faster and stronger and put on more maturity body weight and I think he’s got a tremendous opportunity to do some outstanding things at the University of Michigan.”
When Furbush came into the Wildcat program, he never envisioned himself playing defense. He played as a wide receiver as a freshman and sophomore.
“Originally I didn’t think I’d ever want to play defense,” he said, “I always though scoring touchdowns was the cool thing to do, but Coach Mauk told me ‘maybe we should try you out on defense,’ so I gave it a shot. I’ve come to like the physicality of defense, trying to make plays the best I can and working together as a defense with my friends and teammates. It’s been incredible.”
Mauk said he saw the potential in Furbush on either side of the ball.
“I thought he had tremendous potential because he had a great work ethic and he was working hard. He gave his best effort and if things didn’t come easy he kept working at it,” the KHS coach said. “He has a little bit of a burst and power that is hard to explain until you see it. He also jumps well and is athletic, so it was just a natural fit of him learning the linebacker position. The more he played the position, the better he got at it to the point where he became one of the most dominant defensive players we’ve had.”
Furbush, who played all last fall with a cast on his wrist after breaking a bone in the preseason, said his goal is to be healed by the time he gets to Michigan.
“I’m trying to heal up and trying to get my wrist better,” he said. “It’s taken a while, but hopefully it gets better soon.”
Prior to leaving for the Wolverine state, Furbush is slated to play in the Ohio North-South All Star Game in Columbus in April and the first Michigan-Ohio All-Star game in Findlay in June.
Included among the other schools Furbush looked at prior to committing to Michigan were Purdue, Northwestern and Missouri.
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
Times staff writer