Mail track

Race track helped prepare Warriors DB Ford for CFL combine

Staying in top form during the football offseason is no problem for Tyrell Ford. The six-foot-one, 194-pound Ford is not only a star defensive back for the Waterloo Warriors football team, but also a member of the school track team.

Staying in top form during the football offseason is no problem for Tyrell Ford.

The six-foot-one, 194-pound Ford is not only a star defensive back for the Waterloo Warriors football team, but also a member of the school track team.

Ford of St. Catharines, Ont., finished third in the 60 meters at the York Winter Invitational last month clocking a personal best 6.88 seconds.

So there’s no doubt that Ford will be ready to compete at the CFL’s National Harvester March 25-27 in Toronto. He hopes to post the fastest time on 40 yards.

“We had a practice combine the other day,” the well-spoken Ford told reporters Friday during a video conference call. “I don’t want to jinx it but I will say I ran a really, really good time and it was faster than Tre’s. But for now that’s all you’re going to get.”

Tre Ford is the twin brother of Tyrell who was the quarterback for the Warriors and is also on the track team.

Last season, Tre Ford won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best player in Canadian college football after passing for 1,465 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 629 yards and three touchdowns for Waterloo (3-3).

CFL officials know Fords very well. Tre Ford was ranked sixth in the league’s Winter Scouting Bureau among the top 20 prospects for the May 3 draft. Tyrell Ford also cracked the top 10 at No. 9.

The Fords weren’t the only twins on the list. Calgary Dinos receivers Jalen and Tyson Philpot of Delta, B.C. were ranked second and fifth, respectively.

Tyrell Ford said his track training helped him get his combine ready.

“The track is definitely more top speed,” he said. “It’s about being relaxed and flowing when you run rather than being powerful…and that really helped me.

“When I go to run my 40, my last 20 yards are now much better than they were a while ago. It definitely impacted me positively.”

Ford was an OUA First-Team All-Canadian and U Sports Second-Team All-Canadian last season. He had 12.5 tackles and one interception in five games.

“Tyrell is a dynamic player, a player with special athleticism,” Warriors head coach Chris Bertoia said. “I think he will test the rankings from a combine perspective.

“It’s everyone’s point of view in the CFL, it’s their need for their position and what suits their system. I think he fits all systems, he’s so athletic.

Bertoia added that Ford’s stats don’t tell the whole story because opposing quarterbacks rarely threw themselves last year.

“But he was always able to make plays whenever the opportunity arose,” Bertoia said. “That’s certainly why he found himself in this position for a professional football opportunity and I certainly think he’s going to excel in that area.”

Bertoia thinks Ford can be effective in multiple roles.

“I told the teams with confidence that probably not in his first year, but I think he will show his ability to affect that he could be a ratio changer at this limit cornerback position. said Bertoia. “CFL scouts and coaches might say I’m the head coach for the rose-colored glasses at Waterloo, but I think if they have an open mind they could see it for themselves.

“Some coaches see him as a free safety as well. And I think he’s a guy who has the potential to be a returner as well. He brings that versatility.”

While Ford should shine in the 40-yard dash, he looks forward to every aspect of the combine.

“I’m excited for the drills and the tests. I think I’m going to do well in both,” he said. “I’m really excited for the one-on-ones, I think it’s another way for them to see what I can do.

“Also, I like to talk, so I’m pretty excited for interviews with certain teams. I want to be myself and for them to understand who I am. No false advertising.”

Ford and other Canadian college students did not play football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Ford thinks it actually helped him.

“On COVID I started training more consistently and went from 180 pounds to around 200 and got a lot stronger,” he said. “As soon as we came back for our season (in 2021), I think that really helped because I was definitely bigger and stronger.

“I don’t think I was necessarily as fast as before but now I feel like I’ve lost some weight and I feel powerful, smooth and fast.”

The Fords were teammates for most of their football career. While Tyrell Ford wants this trend to continue in the CFL, he understands the chances of it happening are slim.

“I think it’s very unlikely, so I’m not trying to think about it too much,” he said.

So if the Fords face off in the CFL, will Tre Ford throw a touchdown pass against his brother or will Tyrell Ford record the interception?

“I should definitely go for it, I’d get an interception first, probably for six because I don’t think he can tackle me,” Tyrell Ford said. “I’m just saying his whole career, I don’t think he’s thrown a touchdown at me…it’s just not going to happen.

“He knows better.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 4, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press