Four-star tight end Luke Ford spoke with Campus Insiders regarding his initial trip to Arkansas and why he decided to commit to the Razorbacks despite a rocky start to his Fayetteville trip.
When 4-star tight end Luke Ford arrived for his unofficial visit in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the trip got off on the wrong foot.
“It actually started out pretty bad. I got there and didn’t like the hills. I had bed bugs in the hotel. So, I was like, ‘Man, this is gonna’ be a bad visit,” Ford told Campus Insiders with a laugh. “I told [the coaches] about it. It was funny. They were laughing, and they were like, ‘We’re so sorry,’ but it was a good time. I enjoyed it.”
That was quite a rebound for the Arkansas coaching staff. Ford, from Carterville, Illinois, is a fast rising prospect in the 2018 recruiting class and is ranked as the No. 12 tight end in the country.
The Razorbacks knew they wanted to add Ford to their class and managed to turn the visit into a success.
“The turning point was the next morning when we got there, and they put on a show. They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Ford said. “Then we had dinner, and I loved the coaches at dinner. And then next, they just blew me away with the facilities, the people there. Everything I wanted to hear, I heard, and it was good enough for me to commit.”
A large part of that decision was based on head coach Bret Bielema, whom Ford has established a close connection with.
“The coaches. The coaches are out-of-this-world amazing. The facilities were amazing. It was just everything about the program, just a great program, really,” he said. “[Bielema’s] a genuine guy, a humble guy, great guy, cool guy. Everything about him screams he’s an awesome guy.”
And so, on March 14, Ford took to social media and publicly announced his commitment to Arkansas. Then rated as a 3-star recruit, Ford tabbed the program as “Tight End U,” and many took notice of the claim.
“Arkansas has been known for using their tight ends. They’ll have three tight ends on the field at one time,” Ford said. “Their yards for receiving, for tight ends, is like 3,000. The next closest is nowhere near. It was an easy decision.”
On Sunday, Ford earned his fourth star on Scout at Nike’s The Opening Regional in Chicago.
It was easy to see why. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end was a physical presence well worth watching. His routes were crisp. He showed great hands and concentration, and he was seemingly impossible to cover.
He’s been drawing comparisons to former Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry, who caught 28 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns as a true freshman in 2013.
Ford is capable of making the same kind of early impact with the Razorbacks when he steps onto campus next year.
“I’m hoping I can make an impact freshman year and get on the field. I think the coaches think I can, too,” Ford said.
It’s still early in the recruiting cycle, but Ford is making a name for himself as a deadly weapon in the passing game, and he’s looking forward to proving it on the field for Arkansas