The last time a Florida defensive lineman wore No. 56 at Rutgers, it worked out well for both sides.
Gibsonton (Fla.) East Bay four-star defensive end Marques Ford will be next in line for the number, and he anxiously awaits the uniform that awaits him. The highest rated member of coach Kyle Flood’s recruiting class joins the program Tuesday.
“I’m going to look perfect.,” Ford said on No. 56.
Eric Foster proudly wore 56 for the Scarlet Knights during their surge under Greg Schiano. Ford wants to bring the same energy and passion to the defensive line under Flood and position coach Jim Panagos.
“I would say coach Panagos is one of my most favorite reasons for going there,” Ford said. “I know that I’ll receive great coaching from someone that genuinely cares. I like him a lot.”
Ford committed to Rutgers shortly after he parted ways with Tennessee in the final weeks before National Signing Day. The highest rated commitment since guard Dorian Miller in 2013, Ford spreads the word on Rutgers whenever possible.
“I just tell everyone it’s a great program,” he said. “I tell them to look into it and give it a chance. Because once you look into Rutgers, you’re going to find a lot of things you like. Look into it and I know you’ll find something that pleases you. That program is 100 percent the best I’ve seen so far.”
Ford was most recently on campus for the Rutgers spring game.
“Knowing that it’s my school, it felt a lot better than my other visits,” Ford said. “Being at the spring game was a great experience. It’s going to be easy for me to go up there.
“I just paid attention to how the players were there and how they acted. They interacted a lot with all of the coaches. Knowing that I’d be there in a few weeks, it just made me a little more excited to be up there.”
Ford was a stellar student in high school. Academics remain his focus at Rutgers.
“It’s always about academics first for me,” Ford said. “I’m going to be studying kinesiology and sports medicine. I know that they have a good program, and I’ll be getting a great education while I’m at Rutgers.”