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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Phil Ford even more excited after visit from BYU coach

The tale of Phil Ford isn’t your regular story of a Brigham Young Cougars prospect. The 6-foot-6, 330 pound offensive lineman originally committed to Kansas, was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while being fellowshipped by an Oregon commit and found out positive details about BYU from a player who transferred away from the school.

Yet, somehow, Ford could be wearing Cougar blue very soon.

Last week, Ford posted on his Twitter account, “I might be living in the State of Utah a lot sooner than a lot of people thin[k]! #BYU.”

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Ford signed with Kansas out of High School. His high school coach at Bishop Miege, a private catholic school, received the job of offensive line coach and Ford was looking forward to keeping the relationship going. However, he failed to qualify academically and spent the last season redshirting at Iowa Western Community College.

At Iowa Western, Ford had the pleasure of being teammates with Stetzon Bair. Bair, who’s older brother Brandon played at Oregon and is now in the NFL, is LDS and introduced Ford to the church. Ford was also invited to church activities by members of Iowa Western’s women’s soccer team. After only a short time of attending, Ford wanted to ­­join the church and change his life forever.

“I prayed to God to see if it was right and I asked him for a little sign,” Ford said. “Then I felt so good about it.”

After joining the church, Ford wanted an environment that he felt comfortable in, one with the standards and values that he held. One of his former high school teammates gave him the phone number of a friend who played football at BYU for two seasons; Jake Heaps.

Heaps and Ford exchanged text messages, in which Heaps told Ford that the situation at BYU just didn’t work for him, but it was a great environment for LDS athletes.

“He told me about the coaches, the school and everything,” Ford said. “He said it’s just an amazing place with all the LDS kids… and that’s what I want. I want to be around LDS teammates that have the same values that I have. And even coaches that have the same values that I have.”

Ford then contacted BYU coaches and told him of his desire to become a Cougar.

BYU offensive line coach Mark Weber visited Ford in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday to watch Ford workout.

“He seemed impressed,” Ford said. “He just told me to keep working hard on my grades and, if I did, good things would happen.”

But what Ford said meant most to him on the visit from Weber was the support he seemed to get from the coaches about serving a mission.

“They told me that they encouraged me to do it,” Ford said. “And that’s what I’m gonna do. It’s what I want to do more than anything someday.”

Since contacting the coaches, Ford has made his desire public, posting several tweets relating to BYU and Provo.

“The fans in Provo and around BYU nation are amazing,” he said. “They’ve been tweeting with me and telling me they want me.”

Ford’s tweets include the following;

“Can’t stop thinking about how amazing it would be to live in Provo Utah and be around more of my growing family and friends.”

“I would be more than blessed to be there!! Would be able to represent my church!! The amazing gospel!!”

“I love you fans so much!! #LDSFamily #PROVO I wish I was out there to give you all hugs and thanks and praise!”

Ford is still officially committed to Kansas but hopes to decommit soon and make his allegiance to BYU official.

When more information on Ford’s status is available, Blue Cougar Football will provide it immediately. 

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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