It’s a rather unique story for a rather unique young man. Just over a month ago, Phillip Ford found a new faith, and with it a new purpose.
Now the 18-year-old recent LDS convert from Kansas is being evaluated by BYU.
“Yeah, Coach Weber came by and watched me run through a workout [Wednesday],” Ford said. “He told me a few things he would like to see me work on. He wants me to work on getting my upper body stronger but felt that I was really, really good down below with my legs. He wants me to work on my upper body a lot because that’s what we use a lot of.”
Under Coach Doman, BYU’s offense has been going through a renovation, and he wants his offensive linemen to be big, strong and fast to keep pace with his offense.
“[Weber] said I had a really good core but he wanted me to continue to get stronger, because the core is really huge with their offensive linemen,” Ford said. “He wanted me to lose some of that baby fat in my belly and everything and tone it out more.
“A thing he was impressed on was my weight, because when I first came in here last summer I weighed 380. I’m almost in the 320s now, and he wants me around 310 or 315, so I’m going to lose that by the summer. We run our offense much like Oregon here and we have a similar tempo here.”
Weber also talked to Ford about raising his GPA.
“I’m at a 2.5 right now but Coach Weber told me he wants me to get that up to at least a 3.0,” Ford said. “My coach told me that I can get a 3.0 if I work harder in class and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to work harder to raise my grade and I spoke to my coach about doing that.”
So what were Ford’s first impressions of Coach Weber?
“I liked him a lot and I liked how he was on me about my grades,” Ford said. “He was like a father to me and was talking about church and all that. We talked about my mission and everything and he was really supportive. He was telling me some of the finer details that can make you a better player and everything.
“It was amazing meeting him and actually seeing a BYU coach here. I was thinking how all this started with one tweet, and how I was just praying about it and now I’m being talked to by BYU and everything. It’s just amazing.”
Apparently, the feedback Ford received from the coaches at BYU was very positive.
“[Weber] said they were very interested in me and that Coach Bronco [Mendenhall] wants to see and talk to me,” Ford said. “Coach Weber said he wants to stay in contact once or twice a week and wants to keep track of how my grades are and how my workouts are going. Coach DuPaix said he wants to keep checking in on me to see how I’m doing. I just need to keep working hard.”
To help Ford reach his personal goals, many of the local church members have expressed their support for him.
“There a lot of LDS people up here that are from Utah and they told me that they are going to be on my butt about that,” said Ford. “They want me to call them every night to make sure that I’m working hard.
“The girl that I told you about [Kailee Kartchner], her mom read the article and she told me to call her every night. She wants me to call her and wants me to have a 3.0 or higher and has shown me a lot of support and wants me to do really well. It’s crazy all the support I’m getting from all the LDS people around here.”
With his objective in mind, Ford now plans on going to work both on and off the field.
“I can’t wait to continue to work on them every day,” Ford said. “I’m excited to learn more about the school and the program and work towards my goals. It just sounds amazing. I’m going to work hard.”