By Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 30, 2017 2:50 pm ET
Carterville (Ill.) tight end Luke Ford received his honorary U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey Monday at his school as part of the Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
Ford, one of the top tight ends in the country, is considering a number of the nation’s biggest and most prestigious college football programs, including a quintet from the SEC he is expected to choose between: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Georgia.
“I started really playing football freshman year of high school,” Ford told USA TODAY. “I guess I started envisioning this freshman year and wanting to make it happen. My mom would never let me play, my coaches had to get me cleats, but she’s come to love it and has come a long way.
“I’m just looking forward to having fun, getting tons of gear, living it up down there.”
Of particular note is Ford’s familial bond with the military: His father spent 20 years as a member of the military and still works for the Veteran’s Administration. After flying apache helicopters and service of the special forces, Ford says his father’s largest concerns now are, “making sure I have my head on straight.”
“My Dad has been enjoying it and is proud of me,” Ford said. “I’m playing for him and I haven’t earned that Ford name yet. It’s a great honor to be representing that.”
He’ll be among the nation’s top players competing at the U.S Army All-American Bowl, which kicks off Saturday, Jan. 6 in San Antonio at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.