The last we heard of Oklahoma running back Keith Ford he was indefinitely suspended for academic reasons back in March. It was thought that he was working to earn his way back onto the team, but now we know he’s played his last down as Sooner. On Wednesday Ford announced that he is transferring from Oklahoma.
“The past 2 years with the Oklahoma Sooners has been a great experience, however after my injury last season I never fully recovered. Since that time I have had a chance to evaluate my role at OU with my family and have decided it is time to start a new chapter. Despite what the suspension was about I am currently academically eligible to transfer according to NCAA rules to another university and have been given a full release by OU. I would like to thank [head] Coach [Bob] Stoops and [running backs] Coach [Cale] Gundy for all their support and I wish the Sooners the best of luck next season.” Keith Ford said in a statement.
Ford came to OU ranked a five-star recruit by Scout.com from Cypress, Texas as part of the 2013 class. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact. As a freshman he played in ten games; rushing for 134 yards on 23 attempts. As a sophomore last season Ford saw action in eight games, including starting in three, and racked up a total of 392 yards on 71 attempts, and caught 11 passes for 140 yards. He would have seen even more action last season, but missed five games after suffering a broken leg against Tennessee.
The Tulsa World sat down with Ford and asked him when he first started to think about a transfer.
“After the coaching change there, it didn’t start off right. I talked to my parents. I didn’t like the coach. We were just talking that I think I should leave. First of all, we made sure we got my grades squared away to make sure I would be eligible to transfer. We did that, and I decided to transfer away from OU.”
Oklahoma shook up its offensive staff in February by moving Cale Gundy to inside receivers coach, and Jay Boulware filled Gundy’s old role as the running back’s coach.
“It just wasn’t the right fit. His style of coaching was not my style. I had a relationship with Coach Gundy. I really came to OU because of Coach Gundy, because I wanted to work with him. I didn’t really know this guy and his actions didn’t fit the way I wanted to be coached.”, Ford told the Tulsa World.
While it’s never good to lose depth, the Sooners are stacked at running back. Samaje Perine exploded onto the scene as a true freshman with over 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns, highlighted by an eye-popping 427-yard performance against Kansas last season. It’s the most yards any back has ever run for in a single game in FBS history, and he wasn’t even the freshman Sooner Nation wanted to see last season. Joe Mixon was. An unfortunate off-the-field incident saw Mixon suspended for the season, but fans will get their first look at much-hyped five-star back in 2015. Add to that one of the most explosive running backs in the country in Alex Ross, and you have to wonder just how much Ford would see the field this season in crimson and cream.
There’s no word yet on just where Ford will end up, but he’ll be talking with Texas A&M, and has already received interest from several other schools. He did rule out going to another Big 12 School in his interview with the Tulsa World though. Should he stay at the FBS level he’ll have to sit out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.