Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

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

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2022 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY PATRICK ENGEL Tyson Ford had a preference and acted on it. In Ford's mind, he's best as a de- fensive end. He mostly played defen- sive end for St. Louis John Burroughs School. He wants to play there at Notre Dame, too. He arrived in South Bend last June for an official visit, though, weighing 270 pounds. It was the Irish staff's first time seeing him in person. He had the build of a defensive tackle, a spot where he occasionally saw time in high school. His 6-5 frame can support the weight. His explosive first step, motor and dis- ruptive ability would translate to the interior just fine. But he'd rather put it to use on the edge. "I didn't want to be a three-tech- nique," Ford told Blue & Gold Illustrated. Since that visit, Ford has worked to slim down and leave no doubt upon his January enrollment he's a defensive end. Indeed, that's where he will begin his career. He weighed 245 pounds at the Army All-American Bowl in San An- tonio Jan. 8, two days before he began classes at Notre Dame. The physical transformation is the result of a self- made workout regimen that ought to leave him ready for anything strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis throws at him this winter. All told, Ford put himself through three-a-days. Life outside of football was, well, still related to football. And that's just how he wanted it. "Workouts, workouts and workouts," Ford said of his off-field, out-of-school hobbies. Last summer was the peak of the grind. He'd begin the day with cardio, then lift and finish with football-spe- cific drills. "I'd start off in the morning with a run, two or three miles," Ford said. "Later in the day, I'd go to lifting. After that, I'd go to D-line training. Just try- ing to get as many reps as I can." If Ford stays on the edge, he projects best at the "big end" position that My- ron Tagovailoa-Amosa manned in 2021 after making the switch from three- technique tackle himself. He posted 35 quarterback pressures, six tackles for loss and two sacks this year. "He has great moves," Ford said. "He did a great job this year." With a strong spring and fall camp, Ford could find himself in the mix for snaps there as a freshman, especially if Notre Dame keeps fifth-year senior Justin Ademilola at the "vyper" defen- sive end spot. Senior-to-be Nana Osafo-Mensah, rising junior Alex Ehrensberger and sophomore Jason Onye figure to be his primary competition. Osafo-Mensah was the only one of the three who saw semi-consistent playing time in 2021. ✦ Tyson Ford Eager To Start Life On The Edge Ford is one of three top-100 players Notre Dame signed in the 2022 class. He's the No. 91 overall prospect per the On3 Consensus. PHOTO BY MIKE SINGER TYSON FORD DEFENSIVE LINEMAN 6-4 · 269 JOHN BURROUGHS H.S. ST. LOUIS RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE consensus ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 91 13 3 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 124 17 3 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 151 15 4 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 51 6 2 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 187 24 2 STATISTICS • Recorded 43 stops, 10 tackles for loss and one sack as a senior. • Had 19 tackles and three sacks as a junior in 2020. • Posted 52 tackles and a sack, plus 13 recep- tions for 185 yards, during a full 11-game season as a sophomore. NOTABLE • Born on Sept, 16, 2003. • 2022 All-American Bowl participant. • Was also invited to the 2022 Under Armour All-America Game. • 2019 and 2020 Metro League football all-con- ference first-team defense. • 2020 and 2021 Missouri Football Coaches As- sociation first-team all-state defense. • 2021 Missouri Football Coaches Association Academic All-State. • Grew up playing youth football with Notre Dame freshman defensive lineman Gabriel Rubio. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 18, 2021. • Enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2022. • Picked the Irish over Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma. • Recruited by head coach Marcus Freeman and former defensive line coach Mike Elston. • Officially visited Notre Dame on June 14, 2021 and on Dec. 10, 2021. 2022 PROJECTION • Ford has the potential to break into Notre Dame's defensive line rotation as a true freshman but redshirting may be more likely. THEY SAID IT On3 director of scouting and rankings Charles Power (following All-American Bowl practice): "The West didn't do one-on-ones much during the morning, but I thought Ford was the most disruptive player on their defensive front during that session. He lined up on the inside and created pressure with his first step-quickness. "He simply was a mismatch for the opposing of- fensive linemen due to his get-off. Ford pinned his ears back and got up field quickly." National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming: "Ty- son has a non-stop motor and terrific athleticism. He has a relentless style of play with ball-hawk ability, plus unusual speed and agility for some- one of his height and frame. He certainly has the length, long arms and mobility needed to remain at defensive end. "He excels when in pursuit and has been blessed with the relentless style of play that the college scouts love to see. He never takes a play off and is very aggressive and quick off the ball." 54 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED

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