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Pitt Safety Paris Ford to Opt Out of Remainder of Season

Pitt Safety Paris Ford to Opt Out of Remainder of Season

Pitt safety Paris Ford has opted out of the remainder of the 2020 college football season, sources close to Ford have told Pittsburgh Sports Now.

Ford, 22, is a redshirt junior and is widely considered to be one of the top NFL safety prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft. He had been speculated to be a possible early departure after the 2019 season, but decided to return to Pitt for his third season of play with the Panthers this fall.

PSN has learned that increasing COVID-19 infection rates in the area contributed to Ford’s decision. Ford played in all seven games with the Panthers this season, making 45 tackles, three for a loss, three interceptions and defending one pass.

Pitt is 3-4 and has lost four straight games after starting the season 3-0, with high hopes for a team with so many returning stars on defense such as Ford, Damar Hamlin, Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver.

Ford was seen arguing with coaches on the Panthers sideline before being removed from Pitt’s loss to Notre Dame last Saturday. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game that he team merely wanted to get a look at backup safety Brandon Hill with the game out of hand. Hill should be expected to replace Ford in Pitt’s lineup for the remainder of the season.

After redshirting in 2017 and spending 2018 as a reserve cornerback, Ford broke out in 2019, playing in 12 games as Pitt’s starting strong safety. He led Pitt in tackles and interceptions and was second in pass breakups and forced fumbles. He was named a third-team All-American and a first-team All-ACC selection.

Before the 2020 season, he was named a pre-season All-American by multiple selectors and preseason All-ACC. Ford was on the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Awards as the best defensive player in the country.

Ford was the highest-rated member of Pitt’s recruiting Class of 2017 as a four-star prospect and the No. 3 player in Pennsylvania coming out of Steel Valley High School, where he led the Ironman to a 2016 PIAA Class-2A state title.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Clark Martineau
Clark Martineau
29 days ago

Sad to see you go!
Hail 2 PITT!

Frank James
Frank James
29 days ago

Wow, if the record was different would he not quit on his teammates? This is probably the first domino to fall. I would expect a few more to opt out as well. Patrick Jones will probably follow suit as he has played into a first round pick.
Duzz must go!

local_troll
local_troll
29 days ago

that is a tough pill to swallow, Frank James is dancing on our graves right now. He probably looked the other way when Jerry caught his first charge messing with the kids in Centre County.

Good luck in the Pros.

Also PSU is 0-2

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
29 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

I see your name fits you well TROLL

local_troll
local_troll
29 days ago

Terrance you aren’t giving me any props for the PSU diss and you are siding with Frank James who is a PSU operative.

Looks like you are the one trolling.

local_troll
local_troll
29 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

Frank James is also a Trump supporter so he should be fired from his job. jorgensen 2020!

Frank James
Frank James
29 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

Nah, Pitt grad who works for the Post Gazette and we just endorsed Trump.

local_troll
local_troll
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank James

Frank James just doxxed himself. Even the local_troll needs to give him props.

Frank James
Frank James
29 days ago
Reply to  local_troll

What is this doxxing thing you reference? All the young kids are speaking about this these days.

Kevin
Kevin
29 days ago

I know it’s not a popular viewpoint, and I think he’s a top notch athlete, but I think Paris Ford isn’t a good fit in this defense. Look way back to his first start against NC 2 years ago. He was out of position several times and gave up a lot of big plays. So much so that he was benched in that game. This year is the similar. Look at most of our big plays and he isn’t helping in coverage. He does great making big plays and can hit like a LB, but he would do much better… Read more »

Sean
Sean
29 days ago

This news is not shocking at all. He’s a solid player & he’s looking out for his future. Unfortunately, he will not be more than a 4th or 5th round pick. Best of luck!

Yinz Dumb
Yinz Dumb
29 days ago
Reply to  Sean

He’s been one of the best at his position this season. He’s a 2nd rounder at worst. Do your homework skippy

Tom DiPasquale
Tom DiPasquale
29 days ago

I think a decision like this will drop his stock more than help it. He had a chance to showcase some skill and leadership to help the team rebound from the 4 game slide. But he’s opting out. Its a reflection on how poorly Narduzzi really does handle certain players…

Section 122
Section 122
29 days ago
Reply to  Tom DiPasquale

His play this year compared to last already dropped his stock so now he’s going to be put through the “how’s his character” evaluations by GMs.

Side note, when one of your top guys quits on the season then it’s a sign that you’ve lost the locker room. I thought changing offensive staff could save Narduzzi but if others jump ship and so do recruits (like the big time local guys). Then his goose is cooked before Christmas.

Yinz Dumb
Yinz Dumb
29 days ago
Reply to  Section 122

Lol what? Guess you missed all those INTs. His tape is solid, that’s a huge reason he opted out. His stock can’t get much higher.

Yinz Dumb
Yinz Dumb
29 days ago
Reply to  Tom DiPasquale

Wont hurt it one bit. Talent is talent.

TMG
TMG
29 days ago

Isn’t there a Pile-on-rule?! That’s what this feels like. What shoe’s gonna drop next?

No Disrespect to Ford, Love his game. He will make a pro squad … No-DOUBT!

Mid-season?!

It really does seem like HC has lost his grip.

Terrence Otoole
Terrence Otoole
29 days ago

Sad to see him go i really liked his game ,but he has struggled some this year and it’s going to hurt his draft stock ,this season has been a train wreck ,duzz must go

DL
DL
29 days ago

Some might say that the entire team has opted out since their 4th game.

Smljf
Smljf
29 days ago

I understand why Ford made this decision – I wish him well – but he is not opting out.

Opting out happens before the season starts.

If there was no pandemic , he plays the regular season and would have skipped the bowl game, like many others have done. He would not have done this after game 7 in a normal year.

Yinz Dumb
Yinz Dumb
29 days ago

He’s a quitter and blacks are uneducated about covid. Both are sad, but true, facts. If you see a person driving a car or walking/running outside wearing a mask…there’s a common denominator.

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