Through Father and Friend

Cequanti Ford has deep ties to the University of Georgia – through his father Glenn and a famous puppy dog given to a running back named Isaiah.

COLUMBUS - Two days before National Signing Day this past February, Cequanti Ford, like everybody else, wanted to know which school Isaiah Crowell was going to pick.

The difference though was Ford had the ability to find out ahead of time. And he also had a plan to help Isaiah.

Acting as the chief backup to Crowell at Carver in 2010 as a junior, Ford rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. So the connection between the two is obvious.

Isaiah is like a big brother, says Ford, and the rising senior had an idea he thought the star tailback might like to employ once he made his decision known.

The scheme hinged on Crowell choosing Georgia.

"I had a bulldog puppy myself, and I said let me call Isaiah and see where he's going to go," Ford, 5-foot-8, 175-pounds said. "We're close friends so I thought he would tell me. I asked him and he said, ‘I'm going to Georgia.' So I said it would be a cool idea for him to put a hat on and let me bring the dog out to him. He said it would be real cool. That's how it came about."

On signing day, Isaiah's decision was broadcast on ESPN, and shortly after putting on a fitted flat bill cap with the state of Georgia prominently displayed, Ford handed his mentor the bulldog puppy.

The reaction, by Georgia fans and national onlookers alike, was immediate and resounding.

Some called the move one of the most original signing day acts ever. Using an animal as a prop certainly wouldn't have been possible if Crowell had picked Alabama—an elephant would have been a tough pull.

"It wasn't a big thing," Crowell remembers. "He had the idea, and we did it."

Crowell downplays the event, but for the Bulldogs Nation, seeing the bulldog puppy hoisted was a moment of pride.

"I guess it was cool," Crowell said. "But it was (Ford's) idea."

"It was between me and Isaiah," Ford said. "That's what made it so cool."

This isn't Ford's first connection to the University of Georgia. His father, Glenn Ford, played defensive back for the Bulldogs in the mid-90s.

Adding to the association, Cequanti's birthday is November 1—and on that day in 1997, Glenn and the Bulldogs toppled Florida 37-17.

"I hear a lot of his friends tell me how they remember my dad," Cequanti said. "They tell about him being a good player in high school and college. They tell me I'm just like him, with the same body size and all that. He tells me I'm a little bit bigger and taller than he was in high school, so I'm real proud of that."

Playing behind the famed Crowell had both pros and cons. Ford was able to see the best back in Georgia work through every practice and every drill, undoubtedly helping improve an up-and-comer.

"I asked him for a couple tips, what he thought and how I could do better because he's such a great back," Ford said. "I loved playing with him, and I loved watching him. He did some amazing things on the field that guys had never seen."

All the tips and talks helped, but Crowell may have also overshadowed Ford. However, he shined when Crowell was out with a knee injury midseason. Soon thereafter, the recruiting attention began to pick up.

"I started all five of those games and boosted my stats," he said. … "I've got quick feet, and I'm fast. I'm building up my power now in my legs because I'm not as tall, so I've got to get stronger and faster and quicker with my feet."

With Crowell now at Georgia, the Carver backfield is Ford's for the taking. He is receiving attention from schools like Clemson, UMass, Duke and others, with plans to make visits to camps all summer long. He has goals for this season, which he says if accomplished would bring him more recognition and offers.

"At Carver we want to win a state championship and go 15-and-0," he said. "That's never going to change. I always want to be like Isaiah, and try to be at least the best back in Georgia. I just want to help my team win and win a state championship for my city. To myself I think if I play like I know how and do what I'm supposed to do on the field and just show that even though Isaiah is gone there is still another person here that can do the same things or closer to what he did. If I do that I'll get a lot of publicity."

And even though Georgia hasn't been in contact with him as often as he'd like, Ford says he has genuine affection for the program. With ties like he has, admittedly, it's hard not to think about playing in Athens.

"I'd love to go to Georgia. I played with Isaiah from little league to middle school to high school, and I'd love to play with him again in college," Ford said. "It'd be fun to play with Isaiah again."

Isaiah has helped Ford, and Cequanti returned the favor. Now the ties to Georgia, past and present, could potentially lead to another appearance by his bulldog next February.

"When I took a visit to Georgia in the fall I was with Crowell and them," Ford said. "I loved it. I loved it. It felt like home to me. I felt like I was still in Columbus."


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