USC Football Recruiting

In Depth with USC OL commit Courtland Ford

December 13, 2019
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Roughly two months ago we learned USC was heavily pursuing Cedar Hills (TX) OL and former LSU commit Courtland Ford‍ and his interest was legit. We attempted to reach Ford several times, but was unable to communicate with him to get his thoughts on where things stood with the Trojans.

So, we weren't surprised when he scheduled his USC official visit last weekend. A source informed us right after the visit he expected Ford fo commit to the Trojans. That's when I booked a flight to Dallas to see him on Monday. Almost immediately after landing at Love Field at 2pm, I was informed Ford planned to announce his commitment via Twitter later that afternoon. 

I phoned Courtland's father Clinton and he said to come over to the house that evening at 6pm. 

“It will be worth your while,” he said.

He was absolutely 100 hundred percent correct. 

Uber dropped me off around 6:09 (Dallas traffic) and I spent nearly an hour with the Fords. I left their home extremely grateful for the invitation and impressed with Courtland and his family. 

Courtland Ford is a talented, mature, focused and humble young man who's hungry to make the most of his college experience and prepare himself for the future. He's a big kid, nearly 6-6 and 310 pounds. He's impressively fit and athletic. If someone told me he was a basketball player I'd have believe them. Ford's 35 ½ inch wingspan is as impressive as as he is. Former Trojan OT Tyron Smith’s wingspan is 36 inches. With added muscle, that's likely what Ford's will be down the road.

We also learned despite reports he's had multiple surgeries as the result of knee injuries, that information is inaccurate. He did have preventative surgery his sophomore year to correct “knock knees,” but that's a far cry from ACL surgery as some reports claim he's had. We should add, Ford didn't miss a game his junior or senior season. 

USC Scoop enjoyed a casual conversation with Ford Monday night at his home in Cedar Hills. We talked about what led to his visit to USC, his commitment, his thoughts on the coaches, and much more. Ford’s extremely excited about his future at USC.

Scott Schrader and Courtland Ford Q&A:

SCOTT SCHRADER: I knew USC had interest in you, so I knew y’all were talking, but What led to you taking an official visit? USC hasn’t signEd many non skill position players from Texas.

COURTLAND FORD: “Man, Ive been talking to USC for a long time and we’ve had communication throughout the whole process. And I know when people are telling the truth and when they’re lying, and they’ve been straight with me from the beginning. That played a big part in my commitment.

SS: Mike Jinks started recruiting you early in the process, but when did you get to the point where you knew you wanted to take the official visit?

COURTLAND FORD: “It was just the love I got from everybody on the coaching staff. The communication we had was great from the beginning.”

SS: USC has Graham Harrell, Mike Jinks, John David Baker and Seth Doege are all from Texas, so you have guys from home on staff there. But the guy you’d play for is Tim Drevno and he’s a very accomplished offensive line coach. What are your thoughts about him?

COURTLAND FORD: “He’s a really cool dude and a great coach. I love how he breaks things down and explains everything. I’m gonna have to be ready to work to play for him.”

SS: You said you knew USC was the place for you early on during the official visit. How soon in the visit did you know?

COURTLAND FORD: “It was shortly after a conversation I had with Coach (Clay) Helton. 

SS: Was it something you were told, saw or experienced during the visit?

COURTLAND FORD: “It was a combination of things really. I saw how close the players were and how high a standard USC is held to with the education outside of football. It was a huge seeing what a great business school they have and that’s what I’m going into. So, that also played a big part in my commitment.”

SS: Was there a moment or certain part of the visit that really stood out in an impactful way?

COURTLAND FORD: “It was probably the first lunch and how much love they showed me when I walked in. I didn’t know some of the coaches, but they acted like they knew me for years. That really surprised me. Every coach on staff was there and they all stood up, cheered when I walked in and greeted me.”

SS: What have you seen from the USC football program that gives you confidence in your decision?

COURTLAND FORD: “I can the see the development of the players from the strength and conditioning program. The weight room staff is phenomenal and I can’t wait to get my first session with them. I know my body’s going to change dramatically.”

SS: What did you mean when you said USC kept it real throughout the recruiting process?

COURTLAND FORD: “They said they could see my potential and how my body could transform. How I haven’t even come close to reaching the peak of where I’m going to be when I improve my technique and get bigger and stronger. So, I know they’re going to develop me as a person and player.”

SS: Who was your host?

COURTLAND FORD: It was really Dorian (Hewett), but it was a lot of guys. I with Chris (Steele) and Olaijah (Griffin) too. I met at least 30 or 40 guys and feel I already know half the football team.”

SS: Obviously USC is located near downtown Los Angeles and in a big city. What are thoughts on the area?

COURTLAND FORD: “People were telling me USC was located in a hoody area, but when I first got there, it didn’t look like the good. Where I’m from, it’s bad down there and even the areas away from campus aren’t that bad. You’ve got a beautiful campus, the village and it’s really nice. So, I love it. I’d never been to Los Angeles before. I hopped off the plane, felt the breeze and no humidity.”

SS: Now what are your thoughts on offensive coordinator Graham Harrell?

COURTLAND FORD: “He’s an incredible dude and he’s another one who keeps it straight forward. He can be a goofy and funny guy too. We relate well.”

SS: Was Mike Jinks your main contact during your recruitment?

COURTLAND FORD: “I would say I talked to him more than anyone else, but I did have a lot of great conversations with all the coaches.”

SS: When you started off the journey through the recruiting class, did you have any idea when you were looking for or what to expect?

COURTLAND FORD: “When I was younger and just started getting recruited, I really didn’t know what to expect or what the process would be like. I went in blind, but as time passed by I learned from mistakes and learned how the recruiting process goes. It’s not all easy.”

SS: I travel around the country a lot and kid are always telling me they have high interest in USC. I’m always curious why?

COURTLAND FORD: “I knew I was going to like USC based off what I knew from Cedar Hill alums like Ced Ware. I saw what he posted about USC and he had a great career. When I did my photo shoot we had the Texas flag in it.”

SS: Where do you see yourself developing most over the next year, or where do you feel you need to?

COURTLAND FORD: “Developing my body, learning my craft and learning the playbook.“

Courtland’s father, Clinton Ford, also shared his thoughts with USC SCOOP.

CLINTON FORD: “We went to visit USC, because it was a place we felt he could play at. I don’t want to waste people’s time and we’re very transparent. And it’s important we get that in return. I didn’t think he was going to say it, but when we walked into that first lunch, every coach gave us a standing ovation. I wasn’t expecting that. But as the visit went on and we were really able to talk, we found the coaches weren’t any different than when we talked on the phone. All of the conversations and everything we talked about added up just like we wanted it to. Coaches are always evaluating my son, so I’m always evaluating the coaches....and I was very pleased.”

SS: I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but how hard is it knowing he won’t be close to home?

CLINTON FORD: “Another thing that made USC a great option is having two sisters living in Los Angeles. I have a lot of people out there who can help out if need be. The support system that’s in place there outside of the university is another reason why the decision for him to go to USC was a comfortable one. I’m at peace with it.”

SS: A topic you may have had more interest in than Courtland was whether or not Graham Harrell was staying on. Was knowing his status important to you?

CLINTON FORD: “I trust in the University. I know that USC is a place where their expectations are sky high and I truly believe college football is far better when USC is on top. Just like the Lakers. So, I anticipate greatness coming from them. I had an idea that Coach Harrell was going to come back and that’s always a big plus with the offense he runs. It translates very well to the NFL. Plus they have a young QB and a lot of really young pieces on the team Courtland can grow with.”

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In Depth with USC OL commit Courtland Ford

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