(25) LONNIE FORD--Defensive End, 6-3, 260, Sr.*/Sr.
CAREER: In his career, Ford has 27 tackles for losses and 16 sacks.
2001: Ford thrived as a senior defensive end in 2001. Overall in 2001 while starting all 12 games, he had 40 tackles, including a team-high 14 for losses of 50 yards (with a team-best 7 sacks for minus 26 yards), plus a team-leading 4 forced fumbles and 2 deflections. He tied for the Pac-10 lead in forced fumbles (4) and tied for sixth in sacks (7) and tied for seventh in tackles for a loss (14). He made the 2001 All-Pac-10 second team. He won USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year Award and Player of the Game versus Notre Dame Award. He was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.
He had 8 tackles (including 3 for losses, with a sack) and forced a fumble at Notre Dame, 7 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble which USC recovered against Kansas State, 5 tackles (2 for losses) at Oregon, another 5 against Utah, 3 stops (1 for a loss) and forced a fumble which USC recovered against Arizona State, 3 more (with a sack) against UCLA and 2 tackles (with a sack) and a forced fumble which USC recovered versus Stanford.
2000: As a junior in 2000, Ford started 2 games (Oregon and Stanford) at defensive end and served as Sultan Abdul-Malik's often-used backup in the others. He missed the San Jose State contest after suffering a back sprain versus Colorado. Overall in 2000 while appearing in 11 games, he had 16 tackles, including 6 for losses of 48 yards (including 4 sacks for minus 40 yards), plus 2 deflections and a forced fumble (against Arizona). He had 5 tackles against Oregon. Both of his stops versus Arizona were for losses (with a sack), plus he deflected a pass and forced a fumble.
1999: As a sophomore in 1999, Ford was switched to defense (from tight end) prior to 1999 spring drills, first working at linebacker and then defensive end, and the move paid off in a big way. He started all but 1 game (versus Oregon State) at defensive end in 1999. Overall while appearing in all 12 games in 1999, he had 25 tackles, including 10 for losses of 52 yards (with a co-team high 5 sacks for minus 27 yards) and forced 2 fumbles (against Hawaii, which led to a USC TD, and San Diego State). He had 3 tackles each against Hawaii (2 were sacks), California, Arizona State and UCLA (2 were sacks), and 2 stops against San Diego State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
1998: Ford was the backup to Antoine Harris at tight end as a redshirt freshman in 1998, although he did start twice (Oregon State and Florida State) when Harris was bothered by an ankle sprain. Overall in 1998 while appearing in all 13 games, he caught 2 passes for 14 yards (7.0 avg.) with 1 TD (a 2-yarder at Washington State, the first TD of his career). He also had a 12-yard grab against San Diego State. He sprained his ankle at Stanford, which forced him out of most of that game. He missed 1998 spring practice while recovering from mononucleosis.
1997: Ford served as a reserve tight end and special teams player as a first-year freshman in 1997. He appeared in 3 of USC's first 5 games (all but Florida State and Washington State), but he broke his clavicle at Arizona State and was sidelined the remainder of 1997. The injury occurred on his only catch of 1997, a 5-yarder. Because of the early-season injury, he was allowed to redshirt.
HIGH SCHOOL: He was a 1996 Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Super Prep All-Farwest, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Prep Star Best in the West, Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, All-CIF San Diego Section first team (on defense), San Diego Union-Tribune All-San Diego County first team (and All-Academic team) and All-Eastern League Defensive MVP as a senior at Morse High in San Diego (Calif.). He had 31 catches for 342 yards (11.0 avg.) with 4 TDs as a tight end on offense in 1996 and 100-plus tackles with 19 sacks and 5 forced fumbles on defense as an end. Morse was a 1996 CIF San Diego Section Division I finalist.
As a 1995 junior, he made the All-CIF San Diego Section first team and San Diego Union-Tribune All-San Diego County first team while making 38 receptions for 396 yards (10.4 avg.) with 2 TDs on offense and 83 tackles on defense.
As a 1994 sophomore, he made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore Super 25 while Morse won the CIF San Diego Section championship. Current Trojan Chris Prosser also attended Morse.
He also played basketball at Morse, averaging 10.5 points as a senior, and was on Morse's CIF-San Diego Section champion track team, with bests as a senior of 53-1 in the shot put (he was sixth in the CIF-San Diego Section meet) and 158-0 in the discus. He was named the 1997 San Diego Union-Tribune Male Athlete of the Year.
PERSONAL: He's a public policy and management major at USC.
LONNIE FORD ON: Moving from tight end to defensive end: "I wanted to play defense when I first got here, but in our situation, we needed a tight end…After the 1998 season, I decided, 'This isn't me. I don't like this position.' So, although I was nervous to ask, I told the coaches I'd like to play defensive end. They said, 'Goodness gracious, why didn't you say so?'…I knew my pass rush would be fine, but I wondered about the running game. I thought teams would come at me since I was a new guy."
Getting injured in 1997: "I went through a lot of problems after the injury. I was depressed because I wanted to play, but I got to redshirt. Still, my main thing was sitting out a year. It hurt to be on the sidelines."
WHAT OTHERS SAY: USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron: "From Day One, he came out and was one of our top pass rushers. The first day he came out, he exploded out of his stance and we were were excited to have him there. He has the tools to become an excellent player."
GAME-BY-GAME WITH LONNIE FORD