Ford looks to NFL after strong career

CLEMSON - Scouts, coaches and representatives from all but one NFL team were in Clemson recently for Pro Day. Among the many athletes they saw were former Clemson standout Brand Ford.

Ford, who started 13 games during his Clemson career, Ford caught 65 passes for 728 yards with 12 touchdowns over his four-year stint in Tigertown.

He was also a second-team All-ACC performer during his senior season.

A reliable target for Tajh Boyd, Ford came up with critical catches against N.C. State, Florida State, and even No. 7 LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

The following is a transcript from Ford's post-pro day media interview:

What was that experience like?
Ford: It's a big job interview, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Didn't get invited to the combine, so pro day is always there. I just had to do the same thing I thought I was going to do at the combine. I felt like I had a pretty good day. I felt like I ran fast. I did a good, quality number on the bench. I jumped the highest. I had good drills and I looked good in position drills. I felt like, overall, I had a pretty good day.

How nerve racking is a day like today?
Ford: You've just got to prepare yourself while you're training, getting up early. You've got to be ready for interviews. You can't come into thinking I'm going to say this or that. It's a tough task. You've just got to be ready for it. It's just like a game, waiting on that 12 o'clock game. When it's time, you've got to go out there and perform. The past couple of weeks while I've been training, that's what I've been doing. I've been getting up early, making sure I eat, stretching at night, little things that are going to help me run faster and do things like that.

Is 245 pounds your goal?
Ford: Yes, I wanted to weigh in at 245. At the next step, I'll probably bulk up another five to 10 pounds. But that's the most I'll get at. Right now, they wanted to see me weigh in at 245, and I did.

Were you aware of the microscope you were under?
Ford: I guess you could say that. Like I said, it's like a game. When you go play in big games like FSU and South Carolina, there are a lot of scouts there. You may not know it at the time. Somebody may not tell you, but they're there for a reason. They want to see what guys can do against the best guys that are out there. Today, I knew there were going to be a lot of guys, because I know Clemson always has a good pro day and a lot of people. The strategy is just to get myself ready to go.

What was the hardest part of the day?
Ford: I didn't think they gave all the guys to stretch and warm-up from drill to drill. That's why I got loose before, tried to keep staying loose. Most guys didn't get enough time to stretch. Other than that, you've just got to be able to perform. They want to see you perform when you're not fully ready. You've just got to be able to hit it and get it.

How do you felt you did with that extra weight?
Ford: I felt good. I felt like I was smooth. When you train, you train for technique. It's not about who's the fastest guys. It's about who can get out quicker, who can stay low and drive. You do all the technique first. Once you get going, you can open up after 20 yards and carry it out. I felt like I did good. I felt like I stayed low and ran smooth.

Have you had conversations with any of the teams?
Ford: I had conversations yesterday with the Jets. I talked a little with the Lions today. I can't even remember all the other teams. I was just focused on impressing these teams and doing good. It was a good number of teams.

Where do you go from here?
Ford: I've got to keep training… you can't just stop when the draft comes around and expect to go to OTA and be like, I'm going to run this and run that. You've got to stay in shape. You've got to keep lifting. It's a process. The body can't maintain the strength and speed if you take off. You've got to keep working, the grind.

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