Former Under Armour All-American looking for a fresh start

Marques Ford out of Gibsonton, Fla., switched from Tennessee to Rutgers days before he inked in February 2015. The Under Armour All-American was close with Knights defensive line coach, Jim Panagos. Several months after reporting their staff was let go. The Scout 300 member decided to get a fresh start. He transferred to Jones CC in December.

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"It's been a smooth transition," Ford said. "It's been going great. I have been just really trying to get into the playbook and learn everything I need to know. Spring practice just started. I'm having a lot of fun with my new teammates."

Marques started his college career at Rutgers before leaving for Jones CC this past December.

"It was just more of a situation of where the coaches who recruited me (at Rutgers) are no longer there. I just needed a fresh start. It wasn't that hard of a transition going from high school to Rutgers. I don't anticipate this move to be hard either."

The former East Bay Senior (Fla) standout had an injury to take care of before he arrived at Rutgers. He dropped 25 pounds and decided to take a redshirt at Rutgers to get bigger and stronger.

"I'm glad I did that. I've gotten my weight back up to 235 pounds, and I'm stronger than ever. People have always loved my pass rushing skills. How explosive I am, and my high motor, but now I feel like I'm strong enough to give a lot in the run game too."

Jones CC has the state's top defensive end duo in Markel Winters along with Marques Ford. The two have grown close on and off the field.

"We just kind of lean on each other on and off the field. He's helped me out with their playbook since Markel was there last season. We try and compete in practices. It's a lot of fun. We push each other to be the best we can be. I'm coming off the end at weak side, and he's coming off the end at strong side (defensive end). Markel is so talented and big and fast. We plan on causing a lot of havoc on the field next season."

The two traveled together for the Ole Miss scrimmage this month.

"That was my first trip to Ole Miss. I loved it. Markel has been telling me a lot of great things about it up there. Ole Miss recruited me out of high school so I already knew some of their coaches like (DL) coach (Chris) Kiffin. But the trip was great. I loved their facilities, coaches and their campus in general. I had a great time."

The Rebels surprised Marques on his ride to Oxford.

"Markel was talking to them and he passed the phone over to me. They told me I had a scholarship offer. That was my first offer since I left Rutgers so that was pretty special. They told me that I fit into their program because of my character. They told me that there are tons of talented players out there, but they are looking for players who fit their core values. I know they model their program that starts with faith and that's where it should start."

The former All-Star performer got a chance to watch the Rebel's spring ending scrimmage.

"I expected to see an SEC caliber scrimmage and that's what I got. I saw a lot of big time players on the field. It's a big difference than what I saw at Rutgers. They are just bigger and faster and more polished in the SEC."

Two more scholarship offers have come his way since he left the Ole Miss trip.

"Mississippi State and California offered me as well. I went over to the MSU spring game last Saturday and enjoyed myself. It was nice. They basically told me the same things that Ole Miss told me. They said I was really explosive, and they loved my character."

What stood out the most about the trip to Starkville?

"I can't really say. Probably the same things as Ole Miss but I didn't get to see the school like I did at Ole Miss. It's hard to compare the two because I just went to their game. I didn't get to take a tour of everything like I did at Ole Miss."

Marques is expected to graduate from Jones CC in December. Having already gone through the recruiting process once he's taking a more mature approach this time.

"It basically will come down to the school who can develop me the best to get to the NFL. And even if I don't make it to the NFL I just want to go where they can best develop me. Football is only a short time in your life. I just want to become the best ball player I can possibly be before I get into the real world and start my career."

Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at

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