DILLON -- Montana Western linebacker Jason Ferris impressed coaches across the country a year ago, earning three all-American nods. The Dillon native enters his redshirt senior season this fall, carrying high expectations on his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame.
Ferris started all 10 games for the Bulldogs last season, tallying 125 total tackles, ranking third in the NAIA with 12.5 tackles per game. He also added 9.5 tackles-for-loss, 12 pass breakups, three interceptions and a pair of sacks for a Western defense that ranked No. 3 in the Frontier Conference in scoring defense.
For his efforts, Ferris was named the Frontier Conference defensive player of the year, while earning all-American accolades from the NAIA, AFCA and AP. He was also a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, also known as the small college defensive player of the year award, given annually to the top defensive player in the country representing NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA schools.
While his athleticism and understanding of the game speak for themselves, Western head coach Ryan Nourse has been more impressed with a different skill Ferris carries into his final season.
“I think the big thing for Jason has been his leadership. He meets and exceeds all of the expectations of the program, and he does it on an individual basis. Over this last year and a half, he’s really taken a huge leadership role among our team," said Nourse. "He’s developing a pretty good knack of saying what needs to be said when it needs to be said. He’s so bought in to everything we do and it’s so ingrained into who he is, being one of our top performers, the guys immediately listen to him, but then they also see what he does and that’s such a big deal."
"He prepares as hard as anyone, he works as hard as anyone, he spends all the extra time, volunteers for everything," Nourse continued. "He truly understands what it means to be a champion. We’re just hoping that experience and his leadership will continue to trickle down through the team.”
For his career, Ferris boasts 302 tackles, 21.5 of those for loss, with seven interceptions, 23 pass breakups and one touchdown. He is also a multiple-time honoree as a Daktronics scholar-athlete and all-conference selection, while being named CoSIDA academic all-district a season ago.
Ferris and Western held opponents to just 22.1 points per game in 2018, third-best in the Frontier Conference.