Tracy Ford has been singing the praises of Kyler Gordon for years.
Ford has an eye for talent in his corner of the country. Some of the prospects to make their way through Ford Sports Performance in recent years include linebacker Myles Jack, safety Budda Baker and cornerback Salvon Ahmed.
Gordon, a four-star cornerback from Everett, Wash., is right in line with all those players. Ford first recognized the hallmarks of a future national recruit when Gordon was a freshman.
“He’s just got that athleticism,” Ford said. “His athleticism and his quicks, he’s just got a lot of God-given ability. I think that’s what is reeling a lot of people in. The kid is explosive. He’s a guy that can box jump 60 inches. It’s impressive. He’s really, really similar to Budda Baker when I had him coming out of high school. Just that instinct, the reaction time on certain plays. He’s very similar to Budda when I think about that.”
Others are starting to see that in Gordon as well.
Notre Dame recently offered the 5-foot-11, 176-pound prospect to turn a solid regional list of options into a national group. Arizona, Cal, Nebraska, Oregon, Stanford, TCU, UCLA, Utah and Washington have also offered.
Special teams coordinator and area recruiter Brian Polian is leading the Irish effort to turn Gordon’s attention east. He wouldn’t be the first cornerback from Everett to give Notre Dame a serious look. KeiVarae Russell, a former four-star prospect, played in South Bend before heading to the NFL.
Russell played on both sides of the ball in high school, wide receiver at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, enrolled at running back for Notre Dame then ended up at cornerback before his first practice.
Gordon is a cornerback all the way. Ford sees major upside.
“I don’t think he’s limited to a guy that could play the field or the boundary,” Ford said. “I think he’ll be a guy that you can kind of match up on their best receiver and let him cover him all day. I think that’s how special he is. That’s how I see him playing in college.”
Over the last few years, Ford has seen Gordon mold himself into one of the best cornerbacks in the country. Scout.com rates him the No. 186 prospect overall, top 20 at his position and the best cornerback out West.
Refining the technical aspects of playing the position has been key to that rise.
“When we first got him he was very raw, just more of an athlete,” Ford said. “He kind of zoned in as far as his technique and how to reestablish the line of scrimmage while playing corner. How to be aggressive at times playing the right technique. I would say overall his technique at the line of scrimmage playing press coverage has had a substantial amount of growth.”
Gordon put that ability on display with Team FSP last week at a Pylon 7-on-7 event in Las Vegas, making the tournament’s dream team. He’ll return to Las Vegas with Team FSP this weekend for the adidas 7-on-7 national championship
In fact, Ford thinks Gordon has a little more to show on the national stage. Ford said Gordon played last week with a mild strain in his back.
Getting back to Las Vegas, this time a little healthier, should let Gordon put his skills back on display against top competition. Ford sees that as one of the most important things for a prospect from Pacific Northwest to do during the recruiting process.
“I think it’s really huge for our kids in the Northwest to play in these tournaments,” Ford said. “Like I said, a lot of our players aren’t exposed to that caliber of attention where there’s a lot of top recruited players all over the country in one spot. Our kids usually come in with that chip on their shoulder where they want to make a name for themselves at those kind of events. It gives our kids the ability to actually show that because they’re on the same stage as kids from the sunshine states like California and Florida and those different areas. I definitely think that’s a huge deal.”