Ford Fired Up About Being A Tiger

Four-star running back Johnathan Ford chose the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday at a ceremony at New Hope High School.

New Hope, Ala.—Looking to help out a depleted running back corps, the Auburn Tigers got some great news on signing day when four-star running back Johnathan Ford chose Gus Malzahn's program over Tennessee at a ceremony at his high school. An early commitment to Vanderbilt before backing off that decision following his visit to Auburn, Ford also had offers from Florida State, Georgia, Texas and several other programs.

"It's very exciting for me, my family, my community, and my school," Ford tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It's one of the biggest things to happen to me in my life. Coach Malzahn and Coach (Rhett) Lashlee welcomed me in as part of their family and it is just great. Signing with the Auburn Tigers means a lot. I'm going to have great teammates up there. Just that family atmosphere up there really sealed the deal for me. I love it at Auburn."

Taking his official visit to the Plains two weekends ago, Ford spent a lot of time with Malzahn, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, running back coach Tim Horton, and the rest of the Auburn staff. Getting a good feel for the offense and the program in general, he says it was a great chance for him to get closer to Auburn.

"It was huge for me," Ford says of his visit. "Hanging out with Tre Mason and Quan Bray and all those guys. It was just real big for me. I just love the whole atmosphere up there. All the people were great. My official visit pretty much settled everything. I really want Coach Malzahn to be my coach and also Coach Lashlee and Coach Horton."

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.

Ford should have a great chance at early playing time for the Tigers this fall despite signing three backs in this class. That's something he adds made a big impact on his final decision as well.

"That's the icing on the cake for me," Ford says. I'm just ready to go in there and contribute as much as I can my freshman year and help them out any way I can. I'm ready to do everything I can to get on the field and prepare myself academically."

Playing for Coach Randall Taylor at New Hope, Ford has been an impressive player that has gotten better and better as he's matured physically. Going from 178 pounds as a sophomore to 195 pounds as a senior, Taylor says the sky is the limit for his talented running back.

"I think he's got all the potential in the world," Taylor says. "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."

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