Since committing to Pitt in October of last year, safety Paris Ford’s surroundings may have changed but he hasn’t. Despite switching schools, Ford continues to be one of the most dominant players on both sides of the ball in the WPIAL. Today, he was awarded his jersey for the Under Armour All-American game.
Playing in a game like this is something Ford has always strived for.
“When I got the call that I was selected to the game it was a jaw dropper,” Ford said. “Growing up I had always wanted to play in an all-star like this. It’s a blessing.”
After spending his first three years at Seton-LaSalle High School, Ford transferred to Steel Valley, where he played middle school football. This season, his addition has propelled the Ironmen to an 11-0 record and number one in Class AA in the state. Ford has accounted for 19 touchdowns to go along with his stellar play in the secondary.
Steel Valley head coach Rodney Steele says Ford has been pivotal to their success this season.
“He’s made a huge impact,” Steele said. “He’s made his teammates better because he’s that type of athlete. When he steps on the practice field he makes his teammates compete and work harder. His speed, intangibles he has on the field his football IQ. To play in a game like this you have to be a special football player and that’s what Paris is.”
Ford will be joined by three other WPIAL players in the All-American game: Central Catholic players David Adams, Notre Dame commit, and CJ Thorpe, Penn State commit, as well as Pitt recruit Lamont Wade. They received their jerseys earlier in the week. Wade is expected to make his college decision next month. Ford has been trying to persuade Wade to join him at Pitt.
“I try to Facetime him here and there to stay in his ear,” Ford said. “That would be huge if we get him. He is going to make whatever decision is best for him and his family. I just wanna wish him good luck in whatever decision he makes.”
Ford is considered the cornerstone of the 2017 recruiting class for Pitt. He revealed the coaching staff wants him to add more mass to his frame (he currently ways 190) by getting him into the weight room once he arrives on campus. Ford believes he can make a difference for the Panthers in his freshmen season.
“I think I can make a huge impact as soon as I step foot on campus,” Ford said. “As long as I keep my mind right and stay humble I think I can.”
The Under Armour All-American game will be live on ESPN New Year’s day at 1 pm. Steel Valley will play Riverside in the Class AA Semifinals at North Allegheny High School Saturday night at 7pm.