EDMOND — For Michael Farmer, change has been inevitable.
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound running back just completed his second transfer among the Edmond Schools, moving this time from Edmond North to Edmond Santa Fe.
The transfer comes on the heels of Farmer reopening his recruitment after committing as a junior to Arizona State.
But he may have found a home by moving in with Mike and Marci Hensley, the parents of former Edmond Santa Fe pitcher and New York Yankees draft pick Ty Hensley and current Wolves junior offensive lineman J.R. Hensley. Farmer moved in with them more than a month ago and recently received a hardship waiver, meeting the requirements of Edmond Schools Policy 4850 to be eligible to play this season after the family agreed together that he should transfer.
“We thought if I moved in with them, it would be better,” said Farmer, who declines to talk about his family situation outside of the Hensleys.
Farmer enters the 2013 season ranked No. 12 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings for 2014 after rushing for 995 yards and 19 touchdowns at Edmond North last year before his season ended abruptly in the state quarterfinals when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.
But it's his moves off the field that are currently attracting more attention.
“For the right reasons, we all live in this city and as I told him and as I've told the administrators from his eligibility status to wherever, Marci and I were not doing this to benefit Edmond Santa Fe's football program,” Mike Hensley said. “We didn't need another world-class athlete or whatever in our house just to make us feel good. We were truly doing this for one reason and one reason only, and that was to help a young man.”
The Hensleys also took Farmer in with the option of attending either North or Santa Fe, but they agreed it would be more convenient for him to transfer.
“If he was set on going back, we would have made it work,” Mike Hensley said. “We happen to live in North's district.
“It would have certainly been easier if both (J.R. and Farmer) were going to the same school. We could obviously have a better handle on him academically, keep closer tabs on him and help him before anything got of reach. It was certainly nothing that from our standpoint that pushed him one way.”
Hensley, who once served as Kansas State's pitching coach, has helped provide stability for Farmer and also helped in the recruiting process.
When Hensley approached Farmer this summer inquiring about his commitment to Arizona State, it was obvious Farmer was not certain he wanted to go there. Instead, Hensley made sure Farmer informed the coaches he was reopening the process and he would still consider them.
“I felt like I committed too early,” Farmer said. “I felt like once I committed I thought I would get more offers when I committed. Then I just I felt like I wasn't getting very much love and so we opened it back up.”
He has since received an offer from Washington State and has received interest from Oklahoma State, Georgia and Arkansas.
But the interest is mostly at linebacker, a position he hasn't played since his freshman year at Edmond Memorial. He's willing to make the change, and Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said the plan is to work Farmer out at both running back and linebacker to see where he fits.
Farmer, though, is still recovering from his knee injury and is limited in his workouts.
“I feel like I am almost there, but I don't want to risk it,” he said. “I want to wait about that nine-almost-10 months before I get back out there. I'm in my eighth one right now, so next month will be nine.”
He said he is nearing last season's form, which could make him a very impactful player for Edmond Santa Fe.
“Last year he really didn't really break out for us until about midway through the year and kind of was hitting his stride,” said Mustang coach Jeremy Dombek, who left Edmond North this spring.
“He was having a great game against Jenks in the quarterfinals and he goes down, and we weren't the same team. That right there is an example of how he affected the ballgame for us.”
Farmer's focus remains on earning a spot with Edmond Santa Fe and in the process improving his future.
“I'm going to have to go out there and prove to them that I can work and I am here and I'm ready to work hard,” he said. “I'm ready to prove people wrong.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30: No. 12
Name: Michael Farmer
School: Edmond Santa Fe
Position: Running back
Recruited by: Arizona State (offer), Washington State (offer), Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma State.