Luke Ford was right. Even in July.

He just didn’t know how right he would be at the time. Ford told DawgNation at The Opening that wherever 5-star Justin Fields wound up, he was likely to follow, mentioning Alabama or Georgia in particular.

Recruits, of course, say things like that all the time. Ford was different, though. He speaks his mind often and says what he means. There’s no filter with what he says.

Well, Fields signed with UGA on the first day of the early signing period.

Ford, the nation’s No. 2 tight end prospect (247Sports composite) for 2018, decided on the second day of the early signing period to follow Fields to Athens.

Luke Ford (left) and 5-star OG Jamaree Salyer were always two of the top targets left on the UGA board for 2018. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)/Dawgnation)

Coincidence? Maybe. Planned? Maybe. Either way, it sure worked out after a couple of trips to Athens that impressed Ford.

Ford had hoped to take his official visit to Georgia last week in the final official visit window before the early signing period.

Family things came up and he couldn’t, but it did not matter.

The 4-star tight end and his family had seen enough of UGA on his other visits. Tight ends coach Shane Beamer had made Ford a priority by visiting him in December, once the staff was permitted to get back on the road after the SEC Championship Game.

This decision moves Georgia to 24 commitments in the Class of 2018. It extends Georgia’s lead over Ohio State in the race for the 2018 247Sports composite team rankings race for the nation’s No. 1 overall class.

The 6-foot-5½, 245-pound player sizes up as an ideal red-zone target. His toughness was covered earlier this year by DawgNation when it took forever for him to check on what eventually was diagnosed as a broken collarbone. The Carterville (Ill.) native also returned to the field after that injury later in his senior season.

Ford was expected to sign and not just commit to UGA Thursday. The U.S. Army All-American will not be able to enroll early.

What it means for UGA to sign Luke Ford

Ford comes as a package deal. His older brother, Noah, also plays college football. He previously walked on to the team at Southern Illinois but left the squad this season.

Luke Ford (middle) chats with his brother Noah (right) and UGA director of recruiting Lukman Abdulai during their unofficial visit to UGA on Nov. 14./Dawgnation)

Noah will be a preferred walk-on at fullback next season.

The addition of his younger brother to the class adds to the weight of the class that the Bulldogs have now built for 2018.

It means:

  • Ford has reunited with Fields. The two were on the championship team together at Nike’s elite The Opening showcase camp in July.
  • He’s rated as the nation’s No. 49 overall prospect. Ford’s addition to the class now means that the Bulldogs have either signed or added a commitment from nine of the nation’s top 50 players on the 247Sports composite ranking.
  • Georgia is rolling, with a signed letter of intent or a pledge from 10 of the nation’s top 100 players on that same scale.
  • The staff in Athens has now added 12 players to the roster who are rated among the nation’s top 10 prospects at their position.
  • UGA is doing even better among the truly elite prospects at their positions. Ford becomes the 10th future Bulldogs player who has been ranked among the nation’s top 5 players in their positional rankings.

Ford is an interesting guy and an engaging interview. He was named after Luke Skywalker. His father wanted to also add Skywalker to his middle name on the birth certificate but his mother vetoed that.

Tim Ford, his father, is an Army veteran. He flew Apache helicopters defending our nation for more than 20 years. That’s a big reason why Ford will compete at the U.S. Army All-American game in January.

His 2017 highlight tape even points out his collarbone injury that he never let define his senior season: