Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings , a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with Alabama’s top uncommitted running back target.
Jerome Ford has Alabama and South Florida neck and neck
Jerome Ford wants to be a lawyer when he gets older. He’s doing his due diligence when it comes to evaluating the pros and cons of his top 2 schools: Alabama and South Florida.
Ford, a 3-star running back from Armwood High School (Seffner, Fla.), is the Tide’s top uncommitted target at the position in the 2018 class. There aren’t many recruiting battles Alabama has against South Florida, but the two teams are “neck and neck” with each other in this one.
The biggest reason why the Tide have to fight off the Bulls is because Ford lives roughly 5 minutes from USF. Going there would be much easier for his family.
“I like the coaches at USF,” Ford told SEC Country. “It’s around the corner from my house. I pretty much stay on the same street as the school. [My parents] are open to me going wherever I feel like going, though, but the school has to be right. If everything is right, they’ll be OK with it.”
The nation’s No. 17 all-purpose back, according to 247Sports, visited Tuscaloosa for the first time this fall for the LSU game. It was his first time taking in a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Ford loved everything about his visit.
“Everything there is first class,” Ford said. “The crowd, the atmosphere — just being there — I felt the love. It’s just a lot better there [than other stadiums]. It’s just a better atmosphere.”
Alabama’s plan for Ford is similar to current Tide running back Josh Jacobs. The staff views Ford as a change-of-pace type of running back. He’s not going to run you over every play, but he can catch the ball out of the backfield and match up against linebackers in the passing game to create mismatches.
Ford’s stock with the Tide skyrocketed this past summer where he balled out at one of the team’s summer camp sessions. Since then, the team has kept tabs on Ford’s progression this season and has been impressed. Once 4-star running back Asa Martin committed to Auburn over Alabama in August, the Tide have turned up the heat on Ford and have labeled him as the top target now.
“For the No. 1 school in the nation to want you means a lot,” Ford said. “I never could have imagined this. It blows my mind.”
One of the reasons why he never thought he’d have the chance to play at Alabama — or any school for that matter — is because of his family situation. Ford has multiple uncles who have been in prison “pretty much since I was born.”
“I use that as motivation,” Ford said. “It’s a lot of motivation. I never want to go through what they’ve gone through, so that’s why I work so hard.”
Seeing his uncles in prison is one of the reasons why Ford wants to be a criminal justice lawyer. Ford keeps up with what’s going on in the world and feels like African-Americans are disadvantaged in the criminal justice system.
“There are a lot of black people out there that I feel like aren’t getting the justice they deserve,” Ford said. “I feel like if I became a lawyer, I would be able to fight for them.”
Ford is definitely a kid who has his head properly on his shoulders. He also doesn’t mind fighting for his spot at whichever school he lands. He’s well-aware that the Tide have several running backs already on the roster, including Josh Jacobs, who he has been compared to by the staff.
Coach Nick Saban spent some time with Ford this past weekend and laid out the team’s plan for him, if he did decide on the Tide. What Saban told the running back, who runs a 10.61-second 100-meter dash, resonated with him.
“It’s going to be whichever school gives me the best feeling, and I got that this past weekend,” Ford said on what will separate one school from the next.
I expect Ford will be the team’s running back in the 2018 class.
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