This weekend he'll take a visit to see one of the newest schools on his list when he travels to Auburn to check out the Tigers and Coach Gus Malzahn according to New Hope Coach Randall Taylor. Not getting much attention from the previous Auburn staff, Ford has become more of a priority for Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee since they got on the job.
"It has been pretty hectic here the last couple of weeks actually," Taylor says. "I think Mississippi State was the first to offer and Vanderbilt was the second. Those two schools have been with him since February. Currently he has gone on an official visit to Tennessee and this past weekend he was at Vanderbilt. Just this week alone we've heard from Georgia, Texas, and Florida State. They just keep coming in from everywhere. It has gotten to the point where he's really not talking to the media, he's sending everyone through me."
A Class 3A all-state performer despite missing two games because of an ankle injury, Ford ran for 1,669 yards and scored 27 touchdowns as a senior. In 2011 he rushed for 1,526 yards and 23 touchdowns while adding 18 catches for 245 yards. Taylor says his young back has a ton of potential and could be a budding star as he continues to develop.
"Johnathan has been a three year starter for us," Taylor says. "We knew early on that he was a very talented young man. He had a lot of natural ability. He had a learning curve to go through just like a lot of young backs have, especially at a small school. Going into his junior year he progressively got a little better. This past offseason going into his senior year he really made a commitment to himself and his team and everyone around him.
"He made a strong commitment to get prepared, not only physically but mentally as well. What he did in the offseason in the weight room was phenomenal with his strength. He went from about 178 to right at 195 pounds and maintained his speed. He's a good student. He's carrying a 3.4 GPA right now and really did a lot of soul-searching in the offseason to get where he is right now."
A strong player that has just started to scratch the surface of his potential according to Taylor, Ford is someone that his coach believes has the ability to do big things on the next level.
"I think he's got all the potential in the world. I have been very blessed to have some good players in the past. When I was at UAB I had the opportunity to coach a couple of NFL guys. He weighs 195 pounds at six-feet even and is truly fast. He's a 4.41 guy laser timed. He's got great vision and ability along with lateral movement. He's a very explosive player. He's a pretty special young man."