Oakland Raiders: How Good Can Jacoby Ford Be?
Bret Armstrong – Apr 12, 2012
Jacoby Ford was born on July 27th, 1987 in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is the second born son of Davy and Patricia Ford, Glades Central High School sweethearts that have been married for over 30 years now.
His father was a running back in high school and his mom was an impressive Florida state tack star in high school. That is where Jacoby gets his blazing speed from. It's said that he ran a 4.12 forty at the Fork Union Military Academy combine.
Ford attened the FUMA after high school to increase his odds of landing a spot on a Division I college football program. His high school stats in football were not that impressive, although he did letter twice at Cardinal Newman High.
In high school, however, his forte was more track than football. He was the state champion in the 100 and 200 meters as a senior.
Once Ford hit the field for Coach John Schuman at Fork Union, he really was a hit. In his one year there he caught 57 passes for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns. He was also an outstanding return man, returning seven kicks for scores, four punts and three kickoffs.
Needless to say, Ford caught the eye of some of the nation's top schools while attending the academy that has produce 87 NFL draft choices and two Heisman Trophy winners. He was recruited by Florida, Michigan State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia in addition to his ultimate destination, Clemson.
At Clemson, Ford got immediate field time, playing in 12 of a possible 13 games in his freshman season. He wound up with 59 total touches for 883 yards and four touchdowns.
In his sophopmore season, it was more of the same. Despite missing five games with an ankle injury, Ford accumulated 51 touches for 801 yards and four touchdowns, nearly matching his freshman numbers in less field time.
As a junior, he really amped up his play as a reciever for the Tigers. He caught 55 balls for 710 yards and three touchdowns. That included a five catch 112 yard one touchdown performance in the Gator Bowl against Nebraska. All told he reached 111 touches for 1,181 yards. He had seven games with at least five catches and made at least one catch in every game.
In his 2009 senior campaign, Ford kept his receiving level high. He collected 56 catches for 779 yards. He scored nine total touchdowns and racked up over 1,200 all-purpose yards. He ended his Clemson career with an outstanding 8.5 yards per touch average.
Along with teammate C.J. Spiller, Ford combined to become the NCAA's best duo ever in all-purpose yardage with 11, 671 total yards. He and Spiller became the only players ever to score a touchdown five different ways at Clemson (passing, receiving, rushing, punt return, and kickoff return).
So when the Raiders traded Kirk Morrison to move up to the Jacksonville Jaguars spot and take the fastest player at the combine, they may have gotten more than some NFL teams wanted to give credit for.
His college teammate, C.J. Spiller was taken with the 9th overall pick in the NFL draft. Jacoby Ford was taken by the Raiders with the 108th pick.
Ford later said that he expected to go in the second or third round but he knew he was going to Oakland before the team actually made the phone call.
"I knew the Bears were coming up and they really wanted me," Ford told the Palm Beach Post. So when the Raiders traded up, he said, "Bells kind of went off in my head."
Thus far with the Raiders, Ford has made his mark and really let it be known to Raider Nation that he is here to play football. And new Head Coach Dennis Allen and General Manager Reggie McKenzie can't ask for anymore than that considering that is exactly what they say they are looking for.
Thus far with the Raiders, Ford has played in 24 games over two seasons. He has 122 touches (about five per game) and 2,556 total yards (20.9 yards/touch) with nine touchdowns.
Heading into his junior season as a pro, don't be surprised if Ford hits the 50-plus catch mark and downs the 700-yard receving total in addition to his seven average rushes per year and 30-something kickoff returns.
For when the Raiders drafted this speedster from Clemson, they got more than just exceptional hands in the deal, they got a legitimate playmaker with exceptional ball skills.
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