Editor’s note: Today we are joined by Treasure Valley royalty (who I owe Treasure Valley royalties to after this post). The one and only Jay Tust is lending his encyclopedic local sports knowledge and STATS to the countdown and this will be the first countdown ever to win an Edward R. Murrow Award. #BOOM
With 85 days until UCF goes DOWN, today we’ll look at a numberless newbie who probably WON’T wear those digits, but hey...gotta fit ‘em in somewhere—Ben Ford
#85, Ben Ford, True Freshman, WR
All of them. But also...
Weight: 190 lbs
High School: Eagle High School, Eagle, ID
How’d he get to The BlueTM?
By being one of the best two-sport high school athletes the state of Idaho has ever seen.
I understand that seems like a lofty statement, but prior to committing to play football at Boise State, Ford was verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Washington.
A Division One athlete in two sports? Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty rare.
Throughout his prep career he suited up for Baseball Northwest, participated in the prestigious Area Code Games, and he could still hear his name called at the 2021 MLB Amateur Draft next month (although accepting a DI football scholarship will likely scare off potential suitors).
But as good as Ford was on the diamond, his heart kept pushing him back to the football field.
“[Football is] just something that I’ve done for so long and baseball became a big part of my life, too,” Ford said. “But it’s just always been football for me.”
Nine months after tearing his ACL in October 2019, Ford started the season-opener for the Eagle football team in 2020.
“It was a lot of fun getting to put all the work in. I think it was a good thing,” Ford told KTVB about his recovery process. “I was going to [physical therapy] everyday doing everything I could [to get back on the field].”
Ford quickly proved he was the most explosive player in the state. He completed 68-of-128 passes attempts (53.1%) for 977 yards and 14 touchdowns, and also carried the ball 92 times for 1,056 yards and 12 touchdowns. In a COVID-19 condensed season, he led the Mustangs is a 6-2 record, an Idaho 5A State Playoff berth, and he claimed 5A SIC Player of the Year honors.
Surprisingly, Ford had very little contact with the Boise State football program throughout his senior season, but just weeks after Andy Avalos was named the head coach at his alma mater, he extended a scholarship offer to Ford.
“It’s such a dream come true,” Ford said. “It’s crazy to think about the fact that I was a young kid watching them and now it’s going to be me up there playing on TV and playing on the blue turf and being at practice every day with the team and the guys, so I’m just very, very excited about it.”
His play isn’t dull, but his nickname lacks a little creativity. (Sorry, Ben.)
I can relate though, when your full name is only syllables, friends, teammates and coaches tend to make your nickname longer than your first name.
Just a suggestion, but how about “The Pony Express?” Once a Mustang, Ford is now a Bronco, and he is fast. He once clocked a 4.41 second 40-yard time… in 27 degree weather on wet turf, according to Taylor Bateman over at Off The Field.
The Ford Bronco
Let me explain, because I promise you’ll see it too.
The same year that Ford becomes a Bronco, the Bronco becomes a Ford [again].
Just like his all-terrain twin, Ford also eagerly accelerates right into the fray, revving his motor, and carry teammates on his back.
Both are is flashy, tough and powerful, and both will unapologetically run over you.
Are you seeing the similarities now?
Ford took over as the starting quarterback at Eagle High as a sophomore when long-time Mustangs head football coach Paul Peterson asked him to move from wide receiver.
“He’s got a DNA set that nobody can coach,” said Peterson back in 2018. “I think he has the chance of putting a lot of stress on defenses because he is extremely explosive.”
Eagle’s version of “Coach Pete” was spot on.
The Mustangs posted a .667 winning percentage and went to the state playoffs all three years that Ford was on varsity.
In his final high school season last fall, Ford was named the Idaho Gatorade Football Player of the Year, an award previous claimed by former Borah Lion and current Bronco tight end Austin Bolt just last year.
Even more recently, Ford hit .306 with 3 home runs, 22 RBI and 18 stolen bases over 25 games for a Mustangs baseball team that finished second at state last month.
Ford will likely land on the playing time waiting list this fall, as a redshirt season seems inevitable. Honestly, it’s the perfect type of introduction to college football for him.
He was asked to play out of position in high school because he was too explosive not to have the ball in his hands on every play. As a result, he didn’t get to gain the experience at his more natural position.
The good news?
Ford isn’t afraid to work. Also, he now gets to connect with Broncos wide receiver coach Matt Miller, a former high school quarterback that initially redshirted at Boise State before becoming the program’s all-time leader in receptions.
Miller will be able to stoke Ford’s competitive fires, refine his pass-catcher skillset, and unlock his sky-high potential.
Is he on Twitter?
He’s a man of few words, but you can find him Twitter: @ford14_ben
Pay close attention though, because that “14” in his handle could change. At the moment, Boise State redshirt freshman Andy Peters wears No. 14 for the Broncos, so unless he decides to change, Ford will try to slip into the No. 9.
Completely made up fact
As part of Ford’s recruitment, Boise State has promised to bring baseball back.
In fact, the Broncos only played 14 games in 2020 to honor Ford, who wore No. 14 in high school.
(But seriously, if Boise State still had a baseball team, Ford would’ve entertained the idea of being a two-sport athlete in college. The Broncos would’ve had their own mini-Bo Jackson in the City of Trees, someone that former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin continues to flaunt on The Plains at Auburn.)