Reed’s Robert Ferrel running, and catching on with the Washington State Cougars

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 8:23 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 5′8″, 150 lbs.

Those measurements sound like the frame of a high school wrestler.

But if you look at Reed High School’s football roster from the 2016 season you’ll see a kid listed with that build: Robert Ferrel.

“They just think I couldn’t make it,” he said.

Not even a KOLO 8 Stud of the Week Honor could get Reed grad Robert Ferrel on the radar.

It was the field off the corner of Sparks Boulevard and Baring Boulevard where the now sixth-year college student started his football ascension under legendary area coach Ernie Howren.

“He was always real tough on me compared to everybody else,” Ferrel said of his former high school coach. “I didn’t understand it at the time. Now I look back on it and am thankful that he was.”

Ferrel was deemed too small to compete at higher levels. Nobody recruited him.

But it’s what college coaches couldn’t see in the Sun Valley native: a big belief in himself.

Ferrel started the fall of 2017 at College of the Redwoods. He spent a semester there before walking on at Nevada in 2018. A scholarship never came.

“I definitely wasn’t developed enough and ready to play right now the way I wanted to,” Ferrel said of his time in Reno.

El Camino College, then University of the Incarnate Word came next. Ferrel attended four schools in five years.

“It’s crazy to look back on the stuff I’ve had to go through,” Ferrel remembered. “It’s tough, but tough people run the world.”

When Incarnate Word’s head coach and quarterback left for Washington State University Ferrel wasn’t far behind. His first game in a Cougars uniform ended with three catches for 64 yards.

That game came against Colorado State and former Nevada Head Coach Jay Norvell. Remember, Ferrel was on that Wolf Pack roster in 2018.

“If you get caught up in the emotions that’s when you get nervous, anxious, make bad plays,” Ferrel said of not making that moment against his former coach too big for him.

Since recovering from an injury Ferrel’s been one of Wazzu’s most consistent threats.

“Looking on paper and the journey, people would be like ‘I would never do that,’” Ferrel said. “It’s the experiences. It’s the battles that you deal with early in life that set you up to be successful later in life. The road just makes me want to work harder. If I was handed everything I wouldn’t have had the same mindset to be the best that I could be.”

Through four games Ferrel has recorded 20 catches for 208 yards and three touchdowns.

From no offers, to the Power Five level, Ferrel has NFL dreams on his horizon as well.

“I want to be a motivation that I’m not the biggest, I’m not the strongest, I’m not the most appealing football player there is but just give the kids in my area some admiration toward me that they can chase their goals no matter how fast, how big, or what anybody tells them,” Ferrel said.

Ferrel’s next hurdle comes Saturday in Corvallis, Oregon. The Cougars play the Beavers at 6 p.m.

The game will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Networks.