Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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28 FEBRUARY 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MIKE SINGER In reflection, Tyson Ford's commit- ment may even surprise the Notre Dame coaching staff. The Irish offered the St. Louis John Burroughs class of 2022 defensive end in April 2020 and were consid- ered the favorite to land his services most of the year. However, Okla- homa offered the 6-6, 250-pounder in October and made a strong push. On Dec. 16, Ford took to his Twit- ter account to let his followers know that he'd be announcing his com- mitment Jan. 18. At that point, Okla- homa was considered the heavy fa- vorite. But Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston didn't give up at any point, despite being told by the Ford family that Tyson was set on Okla- homa. On Jan. 15 — just three days ahead of Ford's commitment ceremony — Ford changed his mind on the school he wanted to attend, which was to the delight of the Fighting Irish coaching staff. "They're winning coaches," Ford said of his decision. "The academic part was something I couldn't turn down. It's a lifetime opportunity for me and my family. "Life after football is important to me." Ford built a close relationship with Elston, who worked hard to flip the four-star prospect from the Soon- ers. New Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman also had a couple of conversations with Ford in the week prior to the commitment. "I was talking to him all of the time, almost every day," Ford said of Elston. "He was checking in one me and my family. He really cares; that's the type of coach I want to play for. "He's going to push me to be the best I can." Ford — who Rivals ranks as the No. 3 player in Missouri, and the No. 5 strong-side defensive end and No. 64 overall prospect in the coun- try — is the fifth player to commit to the Irish in the 2022 class, joining tight end Jack Nickel, linebacker No- lan Ziegler, and offensive linemen Joey Tanona and Ty Chan. "I'm coming in to work," Ford said. "That's all I do; I work. I'm ready to get down and dirty. I'll do anything for the school; I'm fully committed. [Notre Dame] has 100 percent of my heart." Additionally, Ford is good friends with Notre Dame class of 2021 de- fensive tackle signee Gabriel Rubio, another standout prospect in the St. Louis area. They played youth football together as young kids, and Ford knows the Rubio family well. He totaled 19 tackles and three sacks during a five-game season at John Burroughs School this past fall. In 2019 during a full 11-game season, he posted 52 tackles and a sack, plus notched 13 receptions for 185 yards. Ford was tabbed first-team All- State by the Missouri Football Coaches Association in 2020, and was also named to the Metro League All-Conference first team in 2020 and 2019. He also is committed to playing in the Under Armour All-American Game in January 2022. In addition, he plays for the John Burroughs bas- ketball team. "The biggest thing about him is that he has the blend of size and speed that everyone is looking for," John Burroughs head coach John Merritt said. "He's a legitimate 6-6, 250 pounds and might be 255 by now. He's fast, can run and has an aggressive mentality. When you have those things, it's a rare combination that you don't mind in most pros- pects. It's made him really attractive to coaches at the next level. "For me as a coach, I've been se- cretly waiting for us to get a kid there at Notre Dame. It's a good natural fit. There are some programs across the country that fit really well together, and John Burroughs and Notre Dame are one of those." Assuming Ford does stay true to his commitment and signs with Notre Dame in December, he will give the Irish their fourth prospect from Mis- souri — and more specifically the St. Louis area — in as many years. The Irish previously landed running back Kyren Williams (2019), wide receiver Jordan Johnson (2020) and defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio (2021). ✦ COMMITMENT PROFILE TYSON FORD Notre Dame Edges Out Oklahoma For Missouri Pass Rusher Notre Dame pulled off a big recruiting win Jan. 18 when it landed Ford, who is ranked as the No. 5 strong-side defensive end and No. 64 overall pros- pect in the 2022 class by Rivals. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM "They're winning coaches. The academic part was something I couldn't turn down. It's a lifetime opportunity for me and my family. Life after football is important to me." FORD ON CHOOSING NOTRE DAME RIVALS 2022 TEAM RECRUITING RANKINGS As of Jan. 18 1. Ohio State 10 2. Penn State 8 3. LSU 7 4. Georgia 5 5. Oklahoma 4 6. Notre Dame 5 7. Cincinnati 6 8. Michigan 5 9. USC 4 10. Boston College 7 Rk. School Commits Rk. School Commits FILM ANALYSIS "Tyson Ford is a long and athletic edge rusher who perfectly fits the popular defensive schemes run in college football today. He plays with a style similar to recent Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem, but Ford is longer and a better athlete at the same stage of his career than Kareem. "He also provides versatility because he can legitimately play anywhere from the seven-technique down to the three-technique defensive line positions." — Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt

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