"I am going to play linebacker first," Ford tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I am looking forward to it. I have never played linebacker, but I think it will be a fun challenge. There will be a lot to learn, but I think I can be good at it."
The idea to try him at linebacker comes from the Auburn coaching staff. The defense that Gene Chizik inherited returns more proven players and more depth at end than it does at linebacker. Also, the Tigers signed only two high school senior linebackers in the 2009 class--Jonathan Evans from Blount and Harris Gaston from Bessemer Academy.
Trying a new position on defense is nothing new for Ford, who played defensive back his first two years in high school. However, after a growth spurt he moved to defensive end as a junior and had no problems making the transition. By the time he was a senior he was rated a four star prospect by Scout.com because of his quickness and ability to make big plays, including 13 quarterback sacks as junior.
As a senior he made 90 tackles with 18 quarterback sacks and an interception.
"I believe that having experience at defensive back will help me at linebacker," Ford notes. "I think that is one of the reasons the coaches have decided to give me a try at linebacker first. Depending on how I do, I might stay at linebacker."
Dee Ford received an offer from the Tigers after an impressive performance at an Auburn summer camp.
Ford graduated a week ago and sent in his paperwork to the NCAA Clearinghouse so he will be ready to enroll in classes at Auburn in late June. "Everything is good with that," he notes. "I know I have qualified.
"I am doing good and I am excited about getting to Auburn," he adds. "I have been looking forward to it since I graduated."
Ford skipped his senior season of basketball to rehab a shoulder problem and says that is going well. "I am still rehabbing," he points out. "It is getting better and better every day. I should be ready to go."
He points out that he also works out regularly, following a plan he received from Auburn strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall after signing with the Tigers in February. He also is trying to eat well, getting plenty of protein to add good weight. "I am currently at 215 pounds," the six-foot-three Ford says.
St. Clair County High coach Charlie Boren says Auburn is getting a talented football player. "He is extremely athletic with tremendous speed and quickness," the coach notes.
Ford says from talking to Auburn's coaches he figures he will likely get his first look at the weakside linebacker spot where another newcomer, juco transfer Eltoro Freeman, will head into preseason number one on the depth chart after participating in spring training. "Most likely I will play the weakside," the incoming freshman notes. "I played weakside defensive end in high school."