On Tuesday, Ford – a highly-touted offensive line prospect in the Class of 2011 from Kansas City (Kan.) Bishop Miege High School – announced he would visit the University of Kansas with his mother, Michelle Walker, on Thursday.
The news served to quickly fan the flames of excitement within Jayhawk
Nation. With a slew of linemen committing to Head Coach Turner Gill's
program in the past week, many hoped Ford's visit signaled his own
Scout.com caught up with mother and son Thursday night, and while the
titanic lineman didn't leave Lawrence a Jayhawk, both enjoyed the trip.
"I liked it," Phil Ford said. "We went up to the dorms and saw the
coaches and players again. It was nice seeing them again and being on
Though this wasn't the duo's first visit together, the previous trip –
for the program's Junior Day back in February – was conducted in a
group setting with a number of prospects and their parents along for
This time around, Walker appreciated the chance to get some one-on-one
time with coaches and academic advisers, discussing their plans for her
son's future – should he indeed pick the Jayhawks.
"It was just a lot different this time," she said. "With Junior
Day there are so many student-athletes down there you don't really have
a lot of time for them to take out and answer questions. Whereas today
they really answered a lot of questions that I had."
Though he received a formal scholarship offer from Kansas two weeks
ago, after a strong showing at the program's O-Line/D-Line camp, Ford
has long maintained a spot on the coaching staff's radar. However, the
Jayhawks were not the first BCS program to an extend an offer, as he
has had one from the University of Minnesota on the books for several
Originally, Ford hoped to make a decision following his senior football
season at Miege, where he hopes to play a key role in leading the Stags
to back-to-back Kansas Class 4A State Championships. This week, that
time frame was shortened considerably, and it now looks as if he will
have a college destination selected by the end of the month – on a very
"His birthday is July 26," Walker explained. "So he'd like to try and
make a decision on that day."
Prior to Thursday's visit, Ford said he was leaning toward the Golden
Gophers, and that preference has not changed. He has yet to visit
Minnesota, but has enjoyed his interactions with the coaching staff to
date, is intrigued by the idea of playing in the Big 10 and cold
Perhaps most importantly, however, is his close friendship with current
teammate – and Minnesota commit – quarterback Max Shortell.
"We've been like brothers the past three, basically four years now,"
Ford said, of Shortell. "I've been blocking for him and we've had each
Before a decision can be made, the two will make a trip to the
Minnesota campus later this month, in addition to a return trip to
Kansas for the opportunity to meet with Head Coach Turner Gill.
Ford is currently rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com, and one
of the top prospects in both the Kansas City region and the state of
Ford Still Thinking
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