TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Johnny Ford, a redshirt sophomore running back for the USF Bulls saw his production stall in his second season at the University of South Florida and is looking for a reset in the 2020 season.
“I would not say ‘rebirth’ but another chance to do what I love. I am thankful for that,” Ford said.
Only appearing in four games, Ford rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries missing a portion of the season due to being suspended due to a violation of team rules.
Those sophomore numbers pale in comparison to the numbers he recorded as a true freshman rushing for 787 yards and eight touchdowns on 115 carries.
Ford responded to a question about the lowest point of his collegiate football career on Tuesday afternoon.
“Not playing football was the lowest point,” said Ford. “I never thought about leaving the program. I was told some stuff but I never thought about leaving the program because I always knew, like, this was where my heart was and this was what I wanted to be.”
Now, in the midst of this restart fueled by perseverance and by a push in the correct direction, Ford has rushed for a total of 141 yards in the first two games of the season.
“I knew something was going to work out,” admitted Ford, “and it worked out perfectly fine and I love it. I love the atmosphere. I love what we are doing around here and I am just thankful to the coaches that allow me to grow and to show them the person that I am.”
He said his first conversation with his new head coach, Jeff Scott, was not about getting into the games or getting more touches in them. He actually asked him for guidance.
“I asked him for help, to help me get better as a person, to help me grow as a young man, and to help me overall to understand the program because I saw something,” said Ford, “so my first intentions to the coaches was help.”
Their assistance seems to be effective. Ford has been explosive on the field and he is currently averaging 9.4 yards per carry.
He continually referenced his faith and his family during the press conference. Ford said that those two factors contribute to how he plays the game.
“I always had to have faith,” said Ford. “My dad always installed in me that, like, whatever you do just give it your all and, like, I always have these flashbacks of my mom so I try not to give up at whatever I do so faith always played a part in my life because, without faith, then, you don’t believe in yourself and I believe in myself a lot.”
He believes in himself and he believes in his abilities to, for lack of a better term, restart his football journey this season.