North Carolina will host over 20 official visitors this coming weekend. Late blooming defensive back Damion "D.J." Ford is the least known of that group.
UNC’s pursuit of Ford, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Lineville (Ala.) Central of Clay County, began in earnest on a Sunday afternoon in November. That day, Ford received a phone call from Charlton Warren, UNC’s defensive backs coach.
“He told me that they had interest in me and that they would like to get me up on an official [visit],” Ford said. “And he threw out the weekend of [January] 15. I was like, ‘Yea, that sounds good.’
“I don’t know how he find out about me. It might have been through a recruiting service. I know he’s seen my film, because he told me that he liked what he saw and he liked my size.”
Ford, who started at both wide receiver and free safety for Central of Clay County, led the defense in solo and assisted tackles this past season. He also intercepted three passes.
During the week before the Dead Period, Gene Chizik visited Central of Clay County High School. After watching Ford’s basketball practice, the two spoke.
“He told me that they wanted me up on the 15th still and to save the date for him,” Ford said.
Neither Chizik nor Warren have discussed the status of a UNC offer with Ford.
“I’m hoping that they will [offer during the official visit], because they told me that they wouldn’t bring me up there and pay for all my stuff if they weren’t interested,” Ford said.
Living in Alabama, Ford’s UNC knowledge is understandably limited.
“I know that it’s a great school and that they have a great program going for them,” Ford said. “They’ve been doing a lot of winning. That’s what I'd like to be a part of.”
With that said, Ford’s UNC official visit will be a complete learning experience.
“I’m hoping to learn about the school, of course, and the education – the size of the classes, meeting the people,” Ford said. “I would like to feel like a home away from home when I’m in school.”
Ford also has January official visits scheduled with Massachusetts (Jan. 22) and Louisiana-Layette (Jan. 29). Previously, he has officially visited FCS Samford. He’s also entertaining an offer from Toledo.
Though he admitted that he does have a leader, Ford wants to keep its identity private at the moment.