Auburn Football: 5 Tigers to Watch vs Louisiana Tech

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive back Johnathan Ford (23) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas State Wildcats wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) during the Tigers

#23 Johnathan Ford, 6-foot, 199 pounds, Sophomore, Safety

The surprise of the Tigers’ defense, if not the Auburn football team altogether, is the play of Johnathan “Rudy” Ford through four games this season. Used rarely as a freshman in 2013, Ford had only five tackles and one pass breakup. In fact, he had more impressive results on offense. The former running back ran twice for 45 yards and a touchdown last season against Western Carolina and finished the season with six carries for 73 yards.

However, Ford has settled into the starting role of boundary safety as a sophomore in 2014. Junior college transfer Derrick Moncrief was expected to earn the role and was atop the depth chart in spring practice. However, by the end of fall camp, Ford had supplanted him and has started each of the first three games this season.

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  • Not only has Rudy Ford started, he has excelled. Ford leads the team with 21 total tackles and ranks second behind cornerback Jonathon Mincy with 15 solo stops. Last week, Ford had eight tackles, a pass breakup, and a tackle for loss.

    Ford has improved each game, perhaps because he has become more and more comfortable on defense since his position switch last season.

    “I felt more at home,” Ford said after the Week 2 matchup with SJSU. “I’m ready to prove I can do anything needed to help the team win.” He recorded his first career interception against San Jose State.

    He’ll continue to improve this week against Louisiana Tech. The Tigers secondary will be tested, but Ford and company will be ready.