High School Sports

Former Gulfport QB explains decision to leave Alcorn State after fight

Gulfport quarterback Cleveland Ford throws a touchdown pass to Jalen Knight as Biloxi's Brandon Walker provides pressure at Milner Stadium in Gulfport, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. Ford enrolled early at Alcorn State but announced Wednesday he has decided to transfer after just one semester.
Gulfport quarterback Cleveland Ford throws a touchdown pass to Jalen Knight as Biloxi's Brandon Walker provides pressure at Milner Stadium in Gulfport, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. Ford enrolled early at Alcorn State but announced Wednesday he has decided to transfer after just one semester. ttisbell@sunherald.com file

Cleveland Ford graduated early from Gulfport High with hopes of jump-starting his collegiate football career at Alcorn State.

It appears his stay in Lorman will be short-lived, however.

The former Admiral quarterback announced on Twitter on Wednesday he has decided to transfer.

“I would like to thank the Alcorn State University family for all the love and support, but due to the recent events I would like to announce that I will be transferring after this semester,” he tweeted. “I’m not sure of what Junior College I will be attending as of now, but when I find out I’ll keep you all posted.”

Ford’s announcement comes a little more than a week after a number of football players were involved in a fight at Alcorn State’s cafeteria.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, 18 players have been arrested on misdemeanor charges stemming from the fight.

“Me personally, I just didn’t want to associate myself with that and what they have going on,” Ford told the Sun Herald on Thursday. “Nobody is looking at it as a big issue, but it is to me and my family.

“They just don’t feel safe with me being in this environment.”

Fresh off of passing for 1,799 yards and 11 touchdowns — and rushing for another 381 yards and two scores — for the Admirals as a senior, Ford was seen as one of the Braves’ top signees in the 2017 signing class. Ford said he had no problems with the football staff, which tried him at QB before moving him to safety this spring, but the fight changed his family’s perception of the program.

“It all could have been avoided,” he said, adding he was watching practice film during the skirmish. “People’s reasons for doing it, I didn’t accept it. It’s nothing against the program. I have to do what’s best for me and right now I don’t think the program will put me in the best situation to be successful.”

In the last 24 hours, Ford said he has heard from a number of junior colleges, including Pearl River, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Coahoma, Copiah-Lincoln and Southwest, but he’s in no hurry to make a decision.

“I’m just trying to be patient,” he said. “This is a big step because this is where I thought I wanted to be.

“... My whole reason to come early in the spring was to see how I fit into their system. After the fight, it opened my eyes to this maybe not being the right fit for me.”

Ford said he has two exams next week and plans to move home after they’re completed. He’ll likely make a decision after that regarding his future.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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