January 12, 2007

Bulls Get Ford Tough

If his numbers and accolades translate to the collegiate playing field, Mike Ford could very well prove to be the most significant recruit signed during USF's brief history. The university confirmed Friday that Ford is enrolled and cleared to join the football program.

"Yes, he has been admitted for the spring term at the University of South Florida and will be participating in spring football here - and hopefully next year will be a running back for us," USF Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance Steve Horton said.

As a prep senior at Sarasota High School, Ford was ranked among the nation's best running back prospects. He is the most prolific back the talent-rich Sarasota-Bradenton area has ever produced.

In 2004, Ford established the single-season state rushing record with 2,836 yards and averaged 236 yards per game while scoring 37 touchdowns and 222 points. He became only the second player in state history to rush for more than 200 yards in 11 straight games during his senior year and had a single-game high of 368 yards against Naples Lely.

Ford was named the state's Class 5A Player of the Year and was ranked the 17th best back in the nation by Rivals.com. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, and clocked at a sub-4.4 forty, Ford is a complete package of power and speed. He originally signed with Alabama but was ruled academically ineligible. Ford eventually found his way to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. He played one season there but will maintain freshman eligibility at USF.

Ford's interest in the Bulls had been evident for some time. Although he did not include USF among his favorites as a high school senior, Bulls offensive coordinator Rod Smith told USFBullsEYE.com on National Signing Day in 2006 that Ford called the staff just days before to inquire about the possibility of coming to Tampa.

  • Note: This story will be updated with new material as it becomes available.

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