In our continued attempts to stave off the summer lull — and to keep this blog something resembling fresh — we bring you a new series: The 11 YAIAA football players you need to watch in 2011. Each day for the next week and a half, we’ll feature another of the league’s most promising talents. Think we missed somebody? Chime in using the comments section.
Jalil Ford, WR/DB, Central York
No, he’s not the biggest receiver you’ll find. Ford was listed at 6-foot-1 last season, and that was probably more than a bit generous. Still, Ford is the YAIAA top returning receiver — statistically, at least — and was the league’s only non-senior to rank in the top 10 last year in receiving yards. Now a senior, there’s every reason to believe Ford’s skill set will translate into big numbers again this fall.
Ford’s speed makes him a game-changer. He averaged 12.9 yards per catch last season, a number I actually think could shoot higher this fall. Ford also presents a huge threat as a return guy, and has even carried the ball as a tailback on occasion, though Central seemed to back off that strategy last season. I have a feeling Panthers coach Brad Livingston and offensive coordinator Matt Baker will find lots of ways to get the ball in Ford’s hands.
Central has weapons, between Ford and fellow wideout Marquis Fells. It has an experienced quarterback in senior Brandon Baker. Running back is a question, but regardless, this offense should score points. You can bet Ford will be a big part of that.
40 catches, 517 yards, 12.93 avg, 7 TDs
13 rushes, 18 yards, 1.38 avg., 1 TD
54 tackles (26 solo)
Some bonus highlights of Ford, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, after the jump.