UMass QB Ford returning

  • UMass quarterback Andrew Ford will forego transferring as a graduate student and will return to lead the Minutemen next season. RECORDER file photo

For The Recorder
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

AMHERST — Andrew Ford is coming back to UMass next year.

The junior quarterback, who has one year of eligibility left, will have his undergraduate degree at the end of the 2017-18 school year. He’d be eligible to transfer without sitting out a season under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule.

There would be interest in him among Power Five schools. With one game left this season, he’s completed 193 of 309 throws with 18 touchdowns. The fact that he’s thrown just three interceptions despite being under regular pressure would add to his appeal.

But Ford isn’t interested. He likes where he is and what he and UMass can still accomplish.

“I’m not too worried about it. I really like this group of guys. On offense we have everybody back. We’re rolling right now. We’re really looking forward to the future here,” he said. “This is my place. This is where I’m happy. I don’t see myself going anywhere anytime soon.”

In two seasons leading the Minutemen, Ford is already in the program’s top five in completions (415, fourth), passing yards (5,240, 5th) and touchdown passes (44, third).

“I’ve done the transfer process. It’s not fun,” said Ford, who began his career at Virginia Tech. “When I envisioned playing college football growing up, this is how I envisioned, playing big games, being out there with the guys. I’ve had that opportunity here and I’m really grateful for it. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

UMass has won four of its last five games heading into Saturday’s noon finale at FIU in Miami.

“We know how close we are now. It’s one thing last year saying how close we are. Now we have the results to back it up,” Ford said. “Finishing the way we have, and we still have a big test on Saturday, but it’s going to leapfrog us into next year. We have to finish it right on Saturday. We have a lot of great things to build on in the offseason.”

Unless someone leaves or decommits, UMass could have as many as six quarterbacks on the roster in 2018.

Junior Ross Comis is also a candidate to utilize the graduate transfer rule. He’s been unavailable for interviews as he’s coming off an injury.

Redshirt sophomores Randall West and Michael Curtis are both back as well.

UMass has commitments from two high school seniors — Jaret Pallotta, of Canton, Ohio, and Josiah Johnson, of Jacksonville, Florida.

Both are considered likely to sign later this month as part of the sport’s new early signing period.