Ford still strong with Kansas

Most of the recruits with a vested interest in the coaching search currently underway at the University of Kansas are taking a "wait and see" approach to things.

Of the handful of committed prospects, only Washington (D.C.) Woodson High defensive end De'Jon Wilson has opted to switch his commitment to another program. He became a Colorado Buffalo on Monday.

But the current crop of high school seniors aren't the only ones keeping a close eye on what's happening in Lawrence, Kan.

Phil Ford cares, too.

A mammoth offensive tackle originally hailing from Roeland Park (KS) Bishop Miege, Ford was a Class of 2011 signee with the Jayhawks - part of a massive crop of offensive linemen brought in by former Head Coach Turner Gill and his staff.

After failing to qualify academically, however, Ford headed to Council Bluffs, Iowa and Iowa Western Community College, to grow both on the field and in the classroom.

At the recommendation of his coaches, the mammoth lineman took a redshirt year this season. The experience proved invaluable, as the chance to go up against the Reivers starters day in and day out helped acclimate him to the speed of the college game.

"It was really that," Ford said, when asked for the biggest advantage of redshirting. "And I also wanted to be able to get stronger, too, and get my body in better shape so I'd be able to last longer out there."

Academically, Ford is back on track as well. So with both football and school once again pointed in the right direction, where does he stand with the Jayhawks?

Gill's firing came as a surprise to him. Word spread quickly, and he actually discovered the news on-line before being hit by a barrage of texts from his friends.

But for Ford it doesn't change anything. He wants to be a Jayhawk no matter who occupies the corner office at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

"I've built some really good relationships with a lot of the local kids, like Darrian (Miller) and Victor (Simmons)," he explained. "And I built (relationships) on visits with some of the other kids."

Winter conditioning begins at the start of the second semester, but Ford won't remain idle while back in Kansas City for the break. He'll work with his trainer and continue to improve himself in the weight room.


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