Former Carver High School star DeRon Furr, who left the Auburn football team last week after tangling with a teammate in a practice field altercation, will transfer to Memphis University.
DeRon Furr Sr. confirmed Tuesday that his son will enroll at Memphis as early as next week after visiting the campus over the weekend and meeting head coach Tommy West and defensive coordinator Tim Walton. Furr will play safety for the Tigers, although he will sit out this season as a redshirt freshman.
The elder Furr said Walton’s reputation for developing defensive backs during previous coaching stints at Miami and LSU and his local connections (a Columbus native who also played at Carver) helped shape his son’s decision.
“One of the big things we felt good about was that Tim Walton was there,’’ DeRon Furr Sr. said. “Looking at his track record, we pretty much felt, ‘Who better to teach him how to play DB or safety?’’’
Several of Walton’s previous pupils have carved out NFL careers, including Antrel Rolle, Devin Hester, Kelly Jennings and the late Sean Taylor.
Memphis officials declined comment about Furr’s status. NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from discussing a recruit until after he has signed a national letter of intent. DeRon Furr Sr. said his son would sign scholarship papers with Memphis after Auburn formally releases him from the national letter of intent he signed with it last winter.
Furr considered several other programs, including Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and UAB. Furr Sr. said Georgia Tech and UAB expressed interest in his son as a quarterback, while Memphis, Florida State and Miami wanted him to play safety. Furr, who accounted for 28 touchdowns and more than 2,300 yards of total offense in leading Carver to the Class AAA state title last season, signed with Auburn last winter and enrolled early in order to compete for playing time at quarterback.
“He came to grips with himself that safety would probably be his best pro potential,’’ Furr Sr. said.
When Furr didn’t crack at the top three on the depth chart at that position, he moved to the defensive backfield. He left the team last week after sophomore safety Zac Etheridge scuffled with him on the practice field. Etheridge told reporters he initiated an altercation with Furr as a means of “setting an example’’ to the freshmen about intensity levels during practice.
DeRon Furr Sr. said that the practice field pile-up wasn’t the underlying reason for his son’s departure.
“We’re just ready to move forward right now and get back to some normalcy,’’ Furr Sr. said. “He’s pretty excited right now. We felt, going through the experience we had, that knowing what your position coach is about is the big key.
“Up there, he’ll know his position coach, who he is, what he’s about and what he’s done.’’