The Most Experienced Interior Defensive Lineman Proved To Be a Leader On and Off the Field As a Mainstay His Final Two Seasons (And Perfect 4-0 Record Against FSU)
When Defensive Tackle, Jonathan Ford, joined the Canes in 2017 out of Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL, he checked in at 6-5, 275-pounds – a relatively smaller frame for an interior defensive lineman. However, the three-star recruit did all of the right things and bulked up to 318-pounds for this senior season as he proved to be the proverbial glue for the defensive line.
Ford was slowly implemented into Miami’s DT position upon his arrival to the U, but started all 13 games on the interior defensive line his Junior season. In 2020, the defensive end position appeared strong with the starting duo of Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche. On the interior, however, Ford would be relied upon as the most seasoned veteran to lead the rotation of Nesta Silvera, Jordan Miller, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley, and Elijah Roberts.
⚪ DT Spotlight ⚪
Jonathan Ford – Miami
• Ford has great size at 6’5 275. In his career he’s made 27 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss and 3 Sacks. pic.twitter.com/dT6xICHI9s
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) August 7, 2020
During his career, Ford proved to be a space eater as a reliable presence up front as he strung together 46 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, and 3.0 sacks. In this COVID-19 riddled season, Ford tallied 19 tackles this regular season and earned the praise of his peers, despite facing adversity. Namely, Ford was benched for Harrison-Hunte on November 6th against NC State. Instead of dwelling on the coaching decision, Ford was put back in the starting lineup the following week against Virginia Tech and posted a career-high six tackles.
Defensive Coordinator, Blake Baker, pointed out Ford’s strong bounce back and mental toughness: “Outstanding game… He’s a senior that, a week before, had gotten his job taken from him. I always say, ‘You got two choices when that happens: You can mope and feel sorry for yourself or you can continue to roll up your sleeves and go to work,’ and that’s what Jon did… It’s a great example for our young guys.”
ICYMI: Miami Hurricanes DT Jonathan Ford played some of his best football before UM’s season was put on hold. https://t.co/JYjYzFofeG
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) November 24, 2020
Even though his numbers have not stuffed the stat sheets during his time at Miami, Ford has indubitably played a role in forming the dominant front line and he has been an integral part of the DT brotherhood. In fact, in his senior day sendoff video, Ford acknowledged that his favorite part of college was spending time with his boys in team meetings, which is usually deemed a mundane part of collegiate sports.
The bonds formed in college are extremely important and become even more important in the context of sports’ teams. Ideally, Ford has imparted the traits necessary to continue that brotherhood with the young DT’s as a talented crop of young interior defensive lineman continue to join the program.
Another part of Ford’s legacy includes a feat that has not been accomplished by Canes’ seniors since 2004 – going undefeated against the Florida State Seminoles, as Ford went a perfect 4-0 against FSU during his tenure.
Thank U, Jonathan Ford, for leading a promising young group in the most unorthodox of seasons in 2020, proving to be an ultimate team player. Thank U for consistently improving as an interior defensive presence during your tenure with the Canes. And Thank U for beating FSU every season in your time of being a Miami Hurricane.