Rivals100 DE Tyson Ford Reflects On Notre Dame Commitment
On Jan. 18, St. Louis John Burroughs class of 2022 defensive end Tyson Ford committed to Notre Dame, but the process leading up to his announcement had twists and turns.
Notre Dame was thought of to be the leader for most of Ford’s recruitment, but a surge from Oklahoma late in 2020 put the Sooners at the top heading into his January decision date. However, new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and defensive line coach Mike Elston did enough in the end to sway Ford back to the Fighting Irish.
“It was hard,” Ford said about making his decision. “I couldn’t figure out which school was best for me because I hadn’t visited either. I had to go off of what people were saying and did my own research as well. I wanted to make sure I was picking the right school and didn’t want to have any regrets.
“I feel comfortable. I made the right decision.”
On Dec. 16, 2020, Ford tweeted that his commitment date would be Jan. 18, but he could have moved it back if he wasn’t sure which school to choose. He considered it.
“It crossed my mind, but I was pretty set on that date,” Ford explained. “I wanted to focus on just getting better. I didn’t want to have to train and also talk to coaches and reporters.”
The committed life is treating Ford well. He’s been an Irish pledge for nearly three months and looks locked in with Notre Dame.
“I talk to them every other day,” Ford said of the Notre Dame staff. “I had a Zoom call recently with Coach Freeman, and he told me that some of these calls will be to remind you why you picked this place. He showed me some of the drills they do and compared it to my film — things I do in my game and how it compares to his players.”
The 6-6, 260-pounder had an hour-long conversation with Irish head coach Brian Kelly the day following his commitment.
“He wanted me to get to know him and what the program is like,” Ford recalled. “He welcomed me in and told me about Notre Dame. He’s definitely a cool guy. I can tell he wants to win, so I’m going to come in and work for him.”
Ford feels that Notre Dame is recruiting him as if he were still uncommitted, which he likes.
“They definitely are,” Ford said. “I’d rather have it like that than them not talk to me at all. It’s good building that relationship.”
Ford has put on his recruiter hat and is helping the Irish go after some other top players, such as Iowa safety Xavier Nwankpa, California linebacker Niuafe “Junior” Tuihalamaka and fellow Missouri native and defensive end DJ Wesolak.
The thought of having a class of 2022 Virginia defensive end Aiden Gobaira, who is already committed, and Wesolak, is exciting to Ford.
“It’s nice having speed to mix with power,” Ford said. “It’s also nice when you’re friends with them, like DJ, who I’ve known for a while and am close with. It motivates me even more.”
Ford has been training with pass rusher Sutton Smith, a Missouri native who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019 and is currently a free agent. Ford is lifting weights, but the majority of his training is focused on defensive line-oriented work, whether that be getting his hands and feet quicker or working on his flexibility.
Rivals ranks Ford as a four-star talent, the No. 2 player in Missouri, and the No. 6 strong-side defensive end and No. 70 overall prospect in the nation.
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