Leader of the pack

CLEMSON - Jacoby Ford takes the expectations of his pre-season all-conference selection in stride, just as well as he does running a route or flying down the track.

If you ask him, he's just looking at his senior years like he's looked at his three previous seasons as a Tiger.

"I'm just going out here trying to play the game that I know I can play," he said. "I'm not trying to put any pressure on myself. I just want to go out there and try to make plays."

For three years, Ford has made a name for himself by making plays. He's second among active ACC players with 1,207 receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (10). Earning the pre-season nod looks good on his resume, he said, but there's more to selection that seeing his name on a list.

"That kind of thing is something I've wanted since I've been here. Now I have to live up to the expectations," he said.

The elder statesman of a young wide receiver corps, Ford realizes his role as a leader being one of two seniors at the position.

"Helping them out, that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "I'm trying to help be a coach to them but it helps me out too in the long-run too. They'll see me making a mistake and they can correct me."

Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott said Ford has taken over the role of leading the group with the departure of Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham. There's no doubt in Scott's mind that Ford will step up to be the go to wide receivers.

"Jacoby has a lot of respect in our room. It's not always because of the way that he's talked it's because of what he's done," Scott said. "Out here on the practice field, he's earned his stripes."

Ford believes there's a different feel around Clemson compared to what was going on when he was a freshman.

For one, the team is closer, which he credits to the coaches. Coach Dabo Swinney told the team before Tuesday's practice that was where they would begin to bring the swagger back to Clemson football.

Ford believes it's already on its way.

"The whole mood and swagger is starting to shift. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with Clemson football this year," he said.

In his first year as the position coach, Scott believes it helps to have a player like Ford leading the group.

"I've been impressed with the leadership that Jacoby has taken on," Scott said. "He realizes this is his group.it's his time to step up and there's no doubt about it that he's going to be a great leader for our group.

"We'll go as he goes."

CUTigers.com Top Stories