He’s wearing the helmet of the Cincinnati Bearcats this week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, but some still see running back Jerome Ford in a previous uniform, that of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Ford signed with Alabama out of high school in the Tampa, Fla., area, but after two seasons and just eight games played, he transferred to Cincinnati, where he flourished.
And while his best college performances were with the Bearcats, he is often referred to as a “former Alabama running back.”
“Being at Alabama was a part of my process,” Ford said this week after a practice with the National team at South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium. “I’m pretty much torn between both. When I was in Cincinnati, I was a Bearcat and I would appreciate it if people would keep it that way instead of calling me an Alabama transfer all the time. I took it kind of personal and didn’t like it, but at the same time a lot of those guys are still my friends. Coach Saban put a lot into me, and I appreciate that.”
At Cincinnati, Ford earned first team All-American Athletic Conference honors this past season, rushing for 1,242 yards and 19 touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry. In 2020, his first season with the Bearcats, he rushed for 483 yards and eight touchdowns with an average of 6.6 yards per carry in a back-up role.
In his first season at Alabama, Ford played in four games, with seven carries and 37 yards. The next season, 2019, he again appeared in four games, rushing for 114 yards and three touchdowns and hauling in two passes for another 11 yards.
Ford added, “I feel like everything worked out in a good way.”
Now he’s hoping to find another team, this one in the NFL. He has had some good moments during his time at Senior Bowl practices in front of NFL personnel.
“It was everything I expected it to be — very competitive, everybody moving fast. … I look forward to getting better every day,” Ford said. “… I just feel like it’s mostly business. College is more like family, they try to butter you up. But now the interviews are job interviews and they’re trying to figure out more about you and what’s going on so they can invest in you. Like I said, it’s a billion-dollar business and they are going to be investing millions of dollars in you so they have to make thorough checks and make sure they are picking the right guy.”
Having enjoyed success on the college level, Ford said the key now is to show he can have continued success as a running back in the NFL.
“I believe all my game can translate. I feel I’m a balanced back,” he said. “I feel like I run well, I’m tough and I catch the ball well and I pass protect pretty well.”
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