PITTSBURGH – If you ever have the chance to take in a Pitt football practice, there is one voice you are bound to hear.
“On defense? It’s always Paris Ford,” senior wide receiver Tre Tipton said. “If it’s not Paris Ford then who would it be?”
Sophomore safety Paris Ford loves to talk, a trait that his teammates noted following the first full pads practice of training camp on Aug. 7.
When Ford was asked about his personality between the lines, he was buttoned up, offering no comment with regards to his on-field playfulness.
While he may not want the label of being the team’s resident trash talker, Ford’s teammates enjoy his on-field chatter and view it as a positive that adds to the intensity and energy of practice.
“He talks, but you know, it brings the momentum,” junior receiver Taysir Mack said chuckling. “Usually when we don’t have the juice, he brings that. So it makes us want to compete. It makes us, you know, want to go back and forth.”
Tipton agrees that it is always a positive in the spirit of competition.
“Nah, It’s just fun, man,” Tipton said. “It’s always a good time, and it makes you want to compete. That’s ultimately why we are out there, is to compete and for competition.”
Ford saw limited time last season as a redshirt freshman, but impressed enough during spring practices to be named a starter at safety following Pitt’s Blue-Gold game in April. Ford has continued to excite throughout training camp, especially in 7-on-7 drills, where he has looked swift and smart at strong safety.
In addition to his role behind the defense, Ford has also taken reps as a punt returner, as the Panthers look for additional ways to use his athleticism on the field. He seems to be up for the challenge.
“Yes sir. Anything the team needs me to do,” he said. “Coach Duzz, Coach Powell, those guys need me to do it, I’ll do anything for this team.”
Ford was a consensus four-star prospect and the third-best player in Pennsylvania coming out of Steel Valley High School when he committed to Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers in 2017.
He will join an experienced secondary that will likely include senior safety Damar Hamlin, senior cornerback Dane Jackson and junior cornerback Jason Pinnock. With experience, athleticism and potential, Pitt’s 2019 secondary could be the best under Narduzzi.