Ford Gets a New Start

Pitt redshirt freshman ready to make impact

Jeff Hathhorn
August 16, 2018 - 3:36 pm

93.7 the Fan

SOUTH SIDE (93.7 the Fan) – What a 12 months it’s been for Paris Ford, the 4-star recruit from Steel Valley wasn’t eligible to play at this time last year and now he could be one of the key players for the Pitt 2018 season.

“I feel so much more free, ‘cause I was in summer school around this time getting my job done,” Ford said.  “Now I feel like I’m more mature.  I’m becoming a better person.  I’m free now.  It’s my first camp and I feel like I’m taking a step up.”

Ford credits his maturity from hanging around Dennis Briggs, Dane Jackson and Avonte Maddox, saying being around them makes you want to want to live up to their expectations.

The expectations are high for Ford, a move to corner in the Spring, the 6’ 195 pound redshirt freshman is expected to start in the secondary, likely at corner. 

Defensive coordinator Randy Bates said Ford had five or six interceptions in the last couple of practices.  However they are still looking for consistency, but the potential is there enough to compare him to the Steelers all-time sacks leader.

“He is a guy who makes some big plays and then makes some things that are just inexperience,” Bates said.  “Sometimes you can liken that to my first year coaching (former Steelers LB) James Harrison.  Sometimes there’s ‘oh no, great play’.  That was kind of my first year with him and obviously as he became a more experienced guy and paid attention to detail more, he obviously was a great player.”

Ford said he doesn’t care where he plays, he’s just glad he’s on the field.  But he seems like a natural at corner.

“I feel like I can just follow a number one receiver and give him problems, just being energetic out there,” Ford said of corner.  “Whatever the team needs, I am going to do.”

Ford also is working some on offense and as a kick returner during camp.  Those added duties don’t seem to both Ford, who said he’s been in-and-out of coaches meetings asking questions.  Ford has also sought advice from former Pitt All-American returner Quadree Henderson.

One of the top players in the state his last two years of high school, Ford also has a comfort level with a number of his teammates also being former WPIAL stars.

“Seeing these guys every day and we all grew up together,” Ford said.  “It’s fun seeing them on the practice field it just gives you a boost.  It’s not a new face, it’s all familiar faces.”