- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- It didn’t take long for new Tennessee head coach Butch Jones to reach out to three-star running back Johnathan Ford and let him know his scholarship offer from the Volunteers still stands, but it’s just another offer for Ford, who remains solid with his commitment to Vanderbilt.
Ford visited Vandy last month when the Commodores blew out Tennessee 41-18 in their home finale.
“It pretty much sealed the deal,” Ford said. “I saw everything I need to see -- the whole energy, Coach [James] Franklin working with the offensive guys. We’re on the rise. I’ve always wanted to play in the SEC, and he says I’m the top dog. I can come in and get early playing time.”
In addition to Tennessee, both Alabama and Auburn have come by to see Ford in the last two weeks. Neither the Crimson nor the Tigers have offered yet, but he remains an option for both schools.
Ford, who grew up an Auburn fan, enjoyed meeting with new head coach Gus Malzahn.
“He’s a real cool guy,” Ford said. “He knows his stuff about offense for sure, just how he coached the championship and how he worked with the offense when he had Cam Newton. I just like to meet people that I haven’t met before.”
Ford’s performance this week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game could determine whether or not he receives an offer from either in-state school. He looked fully healthy on Tuesday after sitting out the last few games of his high school season with an injury.
“I say I’m 100 percent back,” he said. “I’ve got a couple tweaks, but there’s nothing that’s going to hold me back from this game. There’s nothing that’s going to stop me. I’m just going to keep on going.”