Andrew Ford is hoping to make his first trip to Notre Dame this weekend.
“That’s the plan, but with this hurricane, there’s been talk that our game could be pushed back to Saturday,” said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior quarterback from Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, Pa.)
“Hopefully it doesn’t get pushed back because I’d love to get out there.”
Ford is waiting for his first offer, but is receiving serious interest from schools like Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Maryland among others.
Notre Dame quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin has been handling much of Ford’s early recruitment for the Irish.
“I talk to Coach Martin the most,” said Ford. “Right now, I’m just really trying to focus on this season and putting my team in the best situation for the rest of the year. I think the serious recruiting talks will take place after that, but right now I’m just trying to get out and see some games and the atmospheres.”
Martin approves of Ford’s current outlook.
“He’s told me to keep focusing on this year because for a quarterback, it’s different than any other position when it comes to recruiting,” said Ford. “There are a lot of different aspects you have to look at. Obviously at the end of the year, I’ll put together a highlight reel and send that out and go from there. Right now, he said to just keep doing what I’ve been doing so far this season and everything else will take care of itself.”
So far, Ford has helped get Cedar Cliff in a good position with the postseason approaching despite some difficult defeats.
“We’ve lost three games in the final minute; we went down and scored to tie it up and the other team went down and scored in the last minute,” said Ford. “Those were tough losses, but if we win this weekend, we’ll host a first-round playoff game. That’s pretty big for our team.”
Cedar Cliff also had to overcome the loss of highly-touted 2013 tight end Adam Breneman, who went down with a torn ACL during the summer.
“It’s a huge blow,” Ford said. “You’re not going to be able to replace the number one tight end in the country, but he’s still a captain and he’s still there for all of us, especially me. He’s still a really big part of our team.”
For his part, Ford has completed 190 of his 282 passes (67.4%) so far this season for 2,564 yards and 32 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. He’s also carried the ball 80 times for 270 yards and eight more touchdowns.
“I’m definitely not a dual-threat quarterback and I’ll admit that, but I do have a pretty good sense of the pocket,” said Ford, who was clocked at 4.7 in the 40-yard dash this summer. “I can tuck it down and get 10 or 15 yards if it’s there and not try to force anything. I try and take what’s there. I don’t try to force anything and just learn each week.
“Coach (Jim) Cantafio has done a great job of bringing me along and I hope by the end of the year, some of those little things will stick out to people.”
Ford has already taken trips to Penn State, Virginia, Rutgers, Maryland and Pittsburgh this season.
“Besides Penn State, those were all my first trips to the school,” he said. “It’s been great. We’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people. Just to see the different traditions from school to school and to enjoy the process right now. I know in a couple months, it’s going to be a little crazy.
“There are definitely a lot of positives to each school. It’ll be interesting to see how to pick because so far it’s just separating the great from the amazing schools.”
He’s looking forward to his first visit to South Bend.
“I hear a lot of great things about it,” he said. “Obviously, you can say something about an atmosphere, but until you actually experience it, you can’t get a full appreciation for it. I want to see the atmosphere and the fans and also how the coaches handle themselves and how they respond to adversity and respond to players.”
It’s still a bit early, but Ford has already identified a few factors that will play a key role in his decision.
“First and foremost will be academics,” he said. “I know football is going to end at some point, so you need a good education to do something with the rest of your life.
“I want to be comfortable wherever I go. I feel like the school I choose I’ll feel at home. You’re going to spend the next four to five years there, so being comfortable is definitely important. And then just the people you surround yourself with; the coaches, academic people and the teammates. There are a lot of things that go into it.”