It seems like just yesterday that Elton Ford was lining up on the field at Razorback Stadium as a true freshman in on the opening kickoff.
But it was actually three years ago and now the hard-hitting safety from Alpharetta (GA) Chattahoochee is getting ready to enter his senior season at Arkansas.
"The success we had last year was a long time coming and guys in the 2008 class – of which I am one - all came in here with Coach Petrino and we all want to go out on top," Ford said. "We are all seniors and it's going to be about keeping this program rolling and headed toward the top."
Ford (6-0, 210), who had 39 tackles last season while playing in all 12 games and starting one, has always been a fan of contact.
So he has been glad to have the pads on for the last couple of weeks.
"Love having the pads on and getting out here," Ford said. "It's real football and we are love to hit. When we don't have the pads on you have to let up at the end. But I love the pads and hitting. Love doing it."
They might be those who find that crazy for a young man who started the first eight games as a freshman before suffering a neck injury that ended his season.
Ford ended up wearing a halo neck brace, but came back to start 8 games as a sophomore as well and increased his tackles from 42 to 65.
"I just never gave up, kept rehabbing and got back to where I had no fear and just went back out there and played like I had been all my life," Ford said. "I felt blessed."
Ford, who played behind Tremain Thomas and Rudell Crim last season, is the veteran back among the safeties right now.
"I am just trying to show them the ropes since I am the old guy back there now," Ford said. "I am just trying to get out there and lead by example and let them know how to do things, get a feel for it, where to line up and all that."
He likes what he sees from sophomore-to-be Eric Bennett, who has made the move from cornerback.
"The more and more reps he gets the better he is," Ford said. "He is very aggressive and I think he is going to be a good one."
With Daunte Carr injured, Arkansas is working Thomas, Ryan Farr, Seth Armbrust, Alan Turner and Darrell Smith at the two safety spots.
"We've are just trying to get out there and have fun and learn every day," Ford said. "It's all about putting in the work and getting better."
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