Jaylan Ford has regained Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year stature
Ford has played excellent football for the Longhorns’ defense in the last three weeks. After the lowest-graded start of his career at Texas in the loss to Oklahoma in Red River in Dallas on Oct. 7, Ford has responded with three consecutive outings where he was extremely productive and efficient.
Ford has re-gained the All-Big 12-caliber form when Texas’ defense needed him to step up after Red River. In Texas’ three wins since the Houston game in Week 8, Ford led the team in total tackles, tackles for loss, and defensive stops.
Throughout the season, Ford has embodied what makes the Texas defense one of the best units in the Big 12. He’s a smart player who knows how to prepare and is quick to respond when he makes a mistake.
Ford was prepared for what Kansas State had to throw at him in the ground game and in the flats in coverage. He was all over the place on defense last weekend against Kansas State, leading the team with six defensive stops without missing any tackles.
What really stood out to me, though, was the job Ford did in pass coverage. He was targeted a few times in pass coverage, which resulted in only one catch for 12 yards. I thought this was Ford’s best game in pass coverage, probably since he registered an interception in Texas’ Week 4 win over the Baylor Bears on the road.
"“It was our mindset. We were pissed off all week. So this is a game that we wanted and defensive line took it personal. They took it personal the whole entire game.”"
You could tell he wanted this one, which is essentially what he said after the win over Kansas State.
Ford was robbed of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors last season by a player on the same team the Longhorns beat over the weekend in Week 10 (KSU defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah). He’s on pace to put up similar numbers to last season regarding defensive stops, sacks, interceptions, pressures, run stuffs, pass breakups, and fumble recoveries. Ford is also easily on pace to eclipse his number of tackles for loss (10.0 currently) from last season.
It’s noteworthy that Ford is the only Big 12 defender this season with multiple interceptions, over 60 total tackles, double-digit tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.