Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KU Football's Great Unknown at QB Is Someone Not Even in the Media Guide

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KU Football's Great Unknown at QB Is Someone Not Even in the Media Guide

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE -- Your call is about Deondre Ford, and Waco Midway football coach Terry Gambill says he remembers players like him in the past.

You know the type: The guy who would work year-round because football was important to him.

"He's prepared himself," Gambill said, "to be very successful."

So who is Deondre Ford, you might ask?

It's an interesting question that's been floating around Kansas football water coolers the past few weeks.

Ford -- a 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior from Dodge City CC -- showed up on KU's campus in the summer, late enough so that he is not in the football media guide. He wears No. 15 and comes to the Jayhawks after throwing more interceptions (23) than touchdowns (18) in two years at DCCC.

He also remains as the great unknown. While most assumed junior Montell Cozart would be pushed most by true freshmen Ryan Willis and Carter Stanley, Ford is the one who has appeared to emerge as No. 2 on KU's depth chart.

The Waco, Texas, native appeared to be in that spot Wednesday, as he led the second-team offense during the team's fast-start, offense- defense drill.

KU coach David Beaty remained vague about Ford's position in the pecking order when asked Wednesday afternoon.

"He's getting the same amount of reps as the rest of those guys," Beaty said. "He's doing some good things, but he's also learning the system."

What's interesting, though, is that Beaty still seems -- at least publicly -- undecided on his starting quarterback.

When asked Tuesday if he was close to naming a starter, Beaty responded by saying: "We're not there yet. We're just not."

"I don't see the separation that I need to see yet," Beaty said. "It's starting to narrow itself."

It all begs the question: If the top two QBs in fact are Cozart and Ford, and the incoming favorite Cozart isn't separating himself, could the unknown juco transfer have a shot at starting? Or, at the very least, being the backup?

Gambill says if either happens, don't be surprised. The coach remembers Ford as a QB with more than a strong arm.

"He's athletic. In the zone-read concept, he can make good reads," Gambill said. "He's fast enough to, if the defense does not take their responsibilities, Deondre can hurt you with his legs."

There's more to this story, though: Ford was never even a full- time starter for Gambill in high school. His junior year, Ford actually was the third-string QB behind former KU quarterback Jordan Darling and current LSU baseball player Kramer Robertson.

The next year, Ford again wasn't first string, instead splitting time at QB with Robertson -- the son of Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey.

Deondre's father, Kenneth, said his son considered giving up football at the time. …

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