He’s here. Paris Ford has finally been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and is at Pitt Practice today. Ford was cleared early Saturday morning and was able to attend Pitt’s scrimmage on Saturday, which was closed to all media.
Ford comes in after missing the first three weeks of camp, which does put a bit of a hiccup in his early progression.
The question everyone wants to know; when will Paris Ford make his debut on game day?
The extension of preseason camp and the end of two a days has been a widely talked about topic throughout college football. Some coaches like it, others do not, but as far as the Paris Ford situation goes, I would be hard pressed to believe that both Pat Narduzzi and Ford are not thanking the NCAA for that extra week of camp.
Essentially, Ford has two weeks to get into football shape and put the playbook and his knowledge to the test. Ford knows the defense. He knows the different coverages and his assignments, what he will have to learn on the fly is how to make calls, changes, and reads as the vocal safety in the Josh Conklin defense.
Luckily, Ford isn’t a playbook type of safety. By that I mean, he is as instinctive of a football player as I have seen at the high school level. His most praised attribute is his ability to anticipate the play before it happens, which allows him to play really fast. Think Troy Polamalu or Sean Taylor.
Coach Narduzzi has maintained that he will never redshirt a player just to redshirt them, and that will absolutely hold true for Ford. If Narduzzi and staff feel as though Ford can help them, then I would not be surprised to see him get time against Youngstown State in preparation for a September 9th trip to State College.
None of this is certain, as this is college football. There is always the chance that it takes longer than anticipated for Ford to get into the swing of things, but I would not put any challenge past Paris Ford. He has been a fighter his whole life and he will continue to have that mindset on the field as a Panther.