- Mitch Sherman, ESPN Staff Writer
Now that Phil Ford has tasted success in junior college, he wants to broaden his options for the next level.
Ford, a 6-foot-5, 335-pound freshman offensive tackle at Iowa Western Community College, said he would not return after the 2013 season to Kansas, the school he signed with last year out of Shawnee (Kan.) Bishop Miege. The Jayhawks helped place him at IWCC.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about it,” Ford said, “and I want to look elsewhere.”
Kansas continued to recruit Ford, he said, after former Bishop Miege coach Tim Grunhard moved to KU as the offensive line coach under Charlie Weis. Kansas is 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the Big 12. Its struggles impacted Ford’s decision to examine other possibilities.
Minnesota recruited him out of high school, Ford said, and the offer still stands. Additionally, Brigham Young has shown interest since last summer after he failed to qualify academically and landed in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
At IWCC, Ford has played a backup role in his first year as a guard and tackle for an offense that averages 66 points and 615.9 yards. The Reivers are 11-0, ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA and set to play fellow unbeaten Butler Community College in the Graphic Edge Bowl on Dec. 2 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Ford said he signed with Kansas in large part to be near his mother and grandmother. He was disappointed last winter to see Weis dismiss running back Darrian Miller, a former Blue Springs (Mo.) star who played well as a freshman at KU in 2011.
“KU is just not the place for me,” Ford said.
Ford said he’s lost nearly 50 pounds since he arrived at IWCC – a result of his practice and playing time in the Reivers’ high-tempo offense.
He plans to graduate from junior college in time sign a letter of intent in December 2013 with three years to complete two seasons of eligibility.
518dSam Khan Jr. and Max Olson