USC football progress report: Kyle Ford has to wait, again

USC football receiver Kyle Ford. Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
USC football receiver Kyle Ford. Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football and Kyle Ford will have to wait for an injury recovery to pass once again in 2020.

There has been no shortage of great receivers for USC football over the past couple of decades. Kyle Ford hopes to become the next great.

The path for the former four-star receiver hasn’t been easy though. It won’t get any more simple with a new injury to get over.

What has Ford been through and where is he heading from here?

USC football progress report on Kyle Ford

What USC got as a recruit

Kyle Ford was the crown jewel of USC’s 2019 recruiting class, committing at the All-American Bowl in January. Despite a turbulent month including coaches leaving and players like Bru McCoy transferring, Ford stuck to his pledge and signed as the highest-ranked player in the class for the Trojans.

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As a dominant 6-foot-2 receiver from Orange Lutheran, Ford was No. 38 in the 247Sports composite, No. 6 at his position and No. 4 in California.

However, there were concerns around his health. Ford suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through his senior season.

What he’s accomplished

That knee injury limited Ford for most of the 2019 season. Arriving in the summer, his rehab resulted in a redshirt season.

Thanks to the altered redshirt rule, there was opportunity for Ford to see some action as a true freshman. Once he was cleared medically, the receiver suited up for four games to end the season and even caught a 20-yard touchdown pass against Oregon.

What to expect in 2020

Michael Pittman’s graduation opened up a starting spot at wide receiver for 2020 and Ford was one of the favorites to vie for that role. After all, he’d been compared to JuJu Smith-Schuster coming out of high school. The fit seemed just right.

Sadly, Ford will have to wait to follow in Smith-Schuster’s footsteps. During a workout this offseason he suffered another devastating knee injury. The torn ligaments are likely to keep him out for most of the campaign.

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(If the coronavirus pandemic results in the further delay of the season, Ford could benefit more than anyone. A little extra time could be the difference between a full slate and none for the redshirt freshman.)

Where he goes from here

Like Smith-Schuster, the biggest knock on Ford’s NFL prospects may come down to speed. On the plus side, he’s got an NFL-type body and the skillset to dominate in the passing game. Productivity is the key first. Then it’ll be all about convincing scouts he has enough quickness to get by. If he does that, a first-round grade could follow.

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