The UofL Football commitment train made another stop to pick up big time 3 Star JUCO CB Justin Ford.
Justin Ford ❌ The Commitment pic.twitter.com/SXh6MxKeqw
— Time To Kill (@timetokill704) June 7, 2019
Ford is originally from Concord, NC, but played JUCO at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA. Ford is eligible to join the UofL team this fall and could provide immediate help in the secondary.
The 6’2 175 lbs Ford chose UofL over offers from Auburn, Kansas, UK, Colorado, and Utah, among others. Safties Coach ShaDon Brown was Ford’s primary recruiter for UofL per 247sports.
So, what does Justin Ford bring to UofL? Well, his highlights show a big, physical CB. He can play up on the line in press or play very well in off coverage. Ford is as athletic as any WR, making him great in man coverage. He tackles very well and can play up on the line to help stop the run; a very versatile CB. Ford is instinctive and very good at reading plays and reacting quickly. Finally, as it seems with all UofL’s recent commits, he’s very fast which he uses in coverage and in helping against the run.
Now let’s drill down into his skills in detail to see how he utilized them in games last season and how he will fit in at UofL.
Big and Physical
Ford, as stated is 6’2 175 lbs, and it allows him to be very physical. This shows when he plays up on the line in a few of his highlights and makes tackles on RBs. In one play, he is able to shed a block to run down a ball carrier. The block wasn’t by a TE or WR though, it was by an OG. It was impressive seeing him spin out of it and make the tackle.
His physicality shows up when taking on blocks from WRs as well. In one play, a WR appears to have him blocked for a QB sweep, but he sheds the block with ease and makes an assisted tackle.
Coverage and Athleticism
Ford is quite impressive in coverage. In his highlights, it appears he’s exclusively in man coverage. That automatically shows just how good he is they would trust him to be that guy. He presses and plays off and excels at both.
On one play, he lines up right in a WR’s face and at the snap proceeds to drive him immediately back and into the ground. In the first play of his highlights, he is playing off coverage with two WRs lined up literally next to each other. He is shading inside towards the seam when he sees the WR closest to the side line break towards it on an out route. He shows great hip fluidity and change of direction and quickly breaks on the route for an interception.
Quite a few of Ford’s highlights are of him staying step for step with WRs deep down the field. His speed and ability to flip his hips and change direction quickly make him stick with WRs like bubblegum to the bottom of a shoe. Ford is able to hand fight with WRs without committing pass interference or holding. Often times, he disrupts the timing and of the play and it allows him to break up the pass.
His athleticism is just as good as any WR he will cover. In fact, he possesses some of the skills of a WR. On a couple of his interceptions in the video, he goes up like he is the WR and high points the ball. It’s beautiful and so is his leaping ability. His length is even equal to that of a WR. He knows how to locate the ball without losing the WR and make plays on the ball.
Ford is a very sure tackler which makes him even more effective when he helps in defending the run game. It’s really effective though against the short passing game. He’s very good at wrapping up WRs and driving them down. When he tackles, it looks like a tackling drill. WRs won’t likely get many yards after the catch when being defended by Ford. Any secondary would love to have a CB as sure a tackler as Ford shows himself to be.
Reading Plays and Reacting
Maybe Ford’s greatest asset is his ability to read and recognize plays quickly then react to stop them. He uses his eyes well and trust his instincts. On one play, he is lined up on a WR, but immediately recognizes run. He darts directly into the backfield before anyone can react to block him and brings down the RB.
Another play I love is one in which he’s lined up on the WR, but recognizes that the slot receiver is going to run a flat route and be wide open. He’s trying to point out what is happening to the rest of the secondary, but was not able to get their attention. He takes a couple steps with his primary coverage, but keeps his eyes on the QB knowing where the QB is going with the ball. As soon as the QB goes into the motion of throwing to the slot receiver in the flat, Ford breaks directly for him. The receiver tries to juke Ford, but he couldn’t shake Ford and his sure tackling.
Speed is what this Uofl coaching staff wants and it will get it with Ford. He’s fast, but moves almost effortlessly. There are a few plays where he appears to be beat by a WR, yet he closes quickly to break up the pass or make the tackle. It allows to be very effective in off coverage. He can play back and when a short pass is thrown he can quickly get to the receiver and either limit or prevent yards after the catch.
Ford is a very talented player and it’s no wonder why Auburn, Les Miles at Kansas, and UK were trying to land him. A guy his size, with his speed, his physicality, and his football IQ are hard to find. He is a player that could become a lockdown corner for UofL. He reminds me of a taller Jaire Alexander with Trumaine Washington’s tackling ability. During his last year at Golden West College, Ford had 31 total tackles with 2 1/2 of them being tackles for a loss. He picked off 3 passes, returning one for 20 yards, and had 4 pass breakups. His efforts led Ford to be Second Team All-Conference selection in Southern California Football Association’s National Division of the Southern League.
Scott Satterfield and staff got a smart, physical, fast corner that is eligible to play this fall and is a 3 for 2 player. This means, theoretically, if the staff chose to they could redshirt him this season and he could play in 2020 and 2021. It remains to be seen what the staff will choose to do, but Ford is so talented he may be able to immediately contribute. Regardless, Justin Ford will be a playmaking DB for UofL once he gets on the field.
Justin Ford has officially signed with UofL. Check out all the information on his signing in the tweet below from the University of Louisville Athletic Department.
— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) June 10, 2019