Dawn and Brian Thomas, from Fort Myers Beach, have been cheering on Dawn’s son Jake Ferguson, the Dallas Cowboys tight end, in his rookie year.
The same can be said for Jake’s grandfather the legendary Wisconsin coach, Barry Alvarez.
Jake Ferguson is living the dream and having a lot of fun regardless of what he tells his mother.
“He called what day eight and he goes and I answer the phone and he said ‘Mom I’m really unhappy here. I hate it!’ And I said ‘What?’ ‘I’m so sad I want to come home’ I said ‘What?’ And he goes ‘I’m totally kidding! I’m having an amazing time,'” Dawn said.
Football is more than just a game for Jake, it’s who he is.
“We had tackling dummies in our basement. His head went through the wall a couple times in the basement,” Dawn said.
“Even to this day he, you know, eat breathes it sleeps it. That’s all he wants to do. Be around it be a part of it,” Brian, Jake’s stepfather, said.
Alvarez, Jake’s grandfather, remembers watching Jake play for the first time.
“He came up to me after the game and he had a deep voice you know and he was like, ‘Hey grandpa, grandpa. Did you see when I tackled that boy? I tackled him so hard he cried.’ I knew he was made for football at that point,” Alvarez said.
That toughness made him a perfect fit with the Wisconsin Badgers.
At the school where Alvarez coached before he became the athletic director.
“As a coach, you watch the game you see mistakes. But the one thing I always saw and we knew Jake was open every play. We wanted him to get the ball every play,” Alvarez said.
He quickly started emerging as an all-conference tight end.
His talent, ability, and skills drew the attention of Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who took him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
“The whole room stopped,” Dawn said. “And you were just so happy. Because it was a team you knew he’d fit in with.”
“I think they knew what they were getting when they got Jake. And I don’t think he’s disappointed,” Alvarez said.
Whenever he’s on the field, Jake knows he can make an impact and help his team.
“Jake’s always been one of the best guys on the field. So now there’s a lot of really good guys. So but he’s played up to that. One of the first things, we said what do you think. He said I can play with these guys,” Brian said.
“They always say you’re as happy as your least happiest kid. And he’s so happy. He’s doing what he loves,” Dawn said.
From training in the basement to playing at primetime, Jake’s family is proud of his journey and excited for what’s to come.