BEAVERTON, Ore. — The father of the nation’s No. 4 tight end prospect wanted to name him after a Jedi.
Luke Ford hails from a military family. So they’ve bounced around. There were very likely a few lightsabers in those moving trucks.
It was refreshing to get to speak to him on Friday. He’s got a nerd side and makes no qualms about it.
He loves his Xbox One. Those video game marathons with his older brother and there’s a prequel story about what happened to Luke Skywalker Ford.
“You mean like where I got my name?” Ford said. “Well … my Dad. He wanted to name me Luke Skywalker.”
Let’s imagine: Luke Skywalker Ford saw a tipped ball but used the force to bring down his second touchdown in the SEC Championship Game.
Asked afterward, he replied: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
“I’ve always been a Star Wars fan,” Ford said. “My Dad he likes the Star Wars and Star Trek stuff. So that’s how I got into that. So I am kind of a nerd in some things.”
This is the part where I’d really like to let the world know that Ford’s middle name is actually Skywalker. But cooler heads — usually known as the Mom — won out. Lisa Ford’s middle name was used as a tribute to his Mother’s Italian heritage.
That’s why Luke Delsignore Ford is rated as the nation’s No. 92 overall prospect this year. And not Luke Skywalker Ford.
He is quite okay to be himself. Nobody will knock him for that. Especially with the way he can move downfield, snag spirals and find those crevices in the coverage.
That military upbringing also fashioned a steely resolve. The Fords moved around 17 times in approximately 25 years.
Dark side? Luke Ford is tempted by the Crimson side
Ford said Friday at The Opening Alabama was still his leader. He helped clarify just by how much.
He used the 40-yard dash as his measuring stick. Alabama came in first before all his other top schools. How far behind is Georgia?
“A tenth,” Ford said. “If Alabama ran a 4.3 (in the 40) then it would be a 4.4. for Georgia.”
Noah Ford, his older brother, is a football player in his own right at Southern Illinois University. He’s a fullback for the Salukis.
He wore a UGA hat at The Opening on Friday. That’s interesting. Especially when he didn’t even accompany the Fords on that UGA trip. Ford said it was his second-best visit behind his trip to Alabama.
Does that mean UGA is really in it?
“Oh yeah,” Ford said. “They are right there behind Alabama. Everybody is right there pretty much behind Alabama.”
What does he like about the Bulldogs?
“The (quality of players in) the tight end room and (Georgia offensive coordinator) coach (Jim) Chaney,” Ford said. “He’s coached a lot of good tight ends. They had a great PowerPoint in how they are going to use me. I am going to be behind two All-American tight ends. I can just mock those tight ends because I think both of those tight ends are going to go to the league.”
Luke Ford starts to check out his options
The 6-foot-5.5, 255-pound prospect has since visited Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and LSU.
“I think Alabama stands out just because of the facilities and the new offensive coordinator,” Ford said. “The new offensive coordinator (Brian) Daboll has coached Rob Gronkowski and has been the Patriots and has won five Super Bowls there. Alabama stands out really high on my list. They’ve obviously made it clear that I am their No. 1 target for tight ends.”
“That means a lot for me because that’s Alabama,” Ford said.
Does he feel that any other schools have him as their No. 1 tight end?
“I would say LSU,” Ford said. “Georgia. For sure. Auburn with the head coach. I’m not so sure about Texas. Maybe Texas. Michigan? Not for sure. But LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama.”
He said that “Alabama was amazing” and “it was a good visit.”
“I’m really going to watch the play throughout the season,” Ford said. “See who is using the tight ends and stuff and that will ultimately help me make my decision.”
He said that he felt that Michigan uses the tight ends and develops them the best right now. He pointed to the Wolverines and Jake Butt.
How Luke Ford handled his de-commit
Ford also has an interesting recruiting story. He committed to Arkansas after his second school visit.
That was his “The Empire Strikes Back” here. That was already the best one for him.
How could it get any better?
But Ford soon realized that wasn’t the wisest long-term move. Ford had a conversation with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. They decided the de-commitment was the way to go.
Ford understands that Arkansas commitments aren’t allowed to take visits.
“The thing was I was just thinking about it after I committed,” Ford said. “I committed early in March and didn’t want the first time I saw LSU and Alabama to be when I played them. I wanted to check out other schools.”
Bielema and Ford decided the de-commitment was the way to go. It wasn’t that terse and he’s still on good terms with that staff. The Razorbacks are still in it.
“He was like that is going to hurt our recruiting class and stuff like that,” Ford said. “I was like ‘Coach I have got to be selfish here. I am kind of going to choose what’s the best for me.”
Ford feels he would still be committed to Arkansas if Bielema didn’t have that rule about visits.
“It was one of the bigger decisions in my life,” Ford said. “Nobody wants to de-commit and stuff. You get tons of publicity for it and stuff. I just wanted to do it in the most respectful way possible and not affect their class and try to be respectful.”
There’s a new timetable.
“I learned something from my first commitment,” Ford said. “Take it slow and stuff. I think I am going to take it pretty much until (National) Signing Day or if not at the Under Armour (All-American) game.”