As far as memories with your grandfather go, Torrey Pines (Calif.) longstick middie Jonathan Ford has just about everyone beat.
“I got to go on Air Force One,” Ford said with a big smile. “That was the highlight. Towards the end of July, I’m going to my grandpa’s aircraft carrier commissioning, so that’ll be pretty fun.”
Indeed, because not everybody’s the grandson of a former U.S. President. Ford, though, is, as he and his brother, Christian, a sophomore midfielder at Michigan, are the grandsons of Gerald Ford. The 38th President of the United States, Ford succeeded Richard Nixon in 1974 and served until 1977.
So, yeah, it’s not hard to see how the Ford brothers may have had an extra privilege or two while growing up. The youngest Ford, a standout LSM for the RC Elite team, was originally a 2018 but decided to reclassify to the 2019 class. Once he did that, he got some big offers and committed to Notre Dame.
Reclassifying isn’t for everyone, but for Ford, it ended with a chance to play at one of the best schools in the country, so it’s hard to fault him for it. Once he graduates from Torrey Pines, he’ll do a PG year before heading to South Bend.
“I had some looks as an ’18, but (Torrey Pines and RC Elite coach Jono) Zissi and I decided that it’d be better if I went as a ’19 and go to a better school,” Ford said. “I think I’m a late grower. I’ve always been kind of small, but now, I’m kind of building up. I’m definitely emphasizing ground balls and transition and being more offensive.”
He looked the part of a big-time LSM at the Adrenaline Western Shootout last week in Aurora (Colo.), helping RC Elite reach the 2019 championship before bowing out to Denver Elite. Ford is strong off the ground and has an effortless stride that allows him to cover even the quickest midfielders. He’ll bolster Notre Dame’s defensive group when he gets there.
Which brings up the question, though, of how he ended up choosing the Irish. With his grandfather a two-time football national champion at Michigan and his brother suiting up for the Wolverines, did he get any blowback for picking rival Notre Dame?
“We just made sure I didn’t go to Ohio State,” Ford said with a laugh.
A safe play for the grandson of a Michigan legend.
Players Who Impressed at the Western Showcase and Western Shootout
Brett Boos ’18, F/O, Chaparral (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Boos was unbelievable for Denver Elite, winning what must have been 90 percent of his face-offs. He’s got exceptional hand speed, which allowed him to win the clamp basically every time, but he also makes good decisions with the ball. He scored the overtime winner in the semifinals against DoCo Red when he won the face-off and sprinted right down before ripping a five-hole shot for the winner. A Sacred Heart commit, Boos was putting the ball wherever he wanted to and he also did a great job of finding the point man on fast breaks.
Ty DeLaney ’18, M, Brighton Academy (Ore.) / NorCal Elite
Athletically, DeLaney looked like he was a step above everyone else at the Friday showcase. He can really move and that, compounded with a strong work ethic and relentlessness, makes him tough to handle. DeLaney dominated between the lines and flashed some offensive skill with a couple of goals. He’s shifty enough to regularly create scoring opportunities and he’s got a good shot. He might have been the best player there on Friday.
Josh Carlson ’20, A, Arapahoe (Colo.) / Denver Elite
A big-bodied attackman with pretty good feet, Carlson seemed very comfortable at X. He does a nice job of protecting his stick in traffic and also had a pair of early blasts in the Elite All-Star Game. Carlson nicely changed the plane on his shots a couple of times and it’s clear that he has a high offensive IQ.
Holden Evans ’19, Trabuco Hills (Calif.) / RC Elite
Evans had a strong case as my favorite player at the event. He can score, thanks in large part to a nice handle in tight, and he showed some good vision, but his riding was the biggest reason why he stood out. Simply put, Evans is relentless and tenacious. On one sequence, he caused a turnover, only to have his team give it right back. Not a problem, because he scrapped his way to another caused turnover. There’s no such thing as a free clear against him, and lo and behold, it turned into some scoring chances the other way for RC Elite.
AJ Johnson ’18, M, Thunderbolt
An athletic lefty middie who can let it fly down the left alley when he dodges, Johnson also hit his teammates with some nifty passes, including one in the soft spot of a zone that his teammate buried and another when his dodge left a teammate wide open. It’s always a nice luxury to have a midfielder who can create so well from up top.
Luke Mikolajewski ’19, M, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / RC Elite
Mikolajewski makes his bones with a little bit of shake and a little bit of bake. He’s tough to stay in front of, and his hitch-and-go got him open on more than a few occasions. He’s no ball hog, though. Mikolajewski did an excellent job of dodging with his head up and finding his teammates, and when he had to, he was solid defensively. On one ride, he caused a turnover and handled the ensuing goal by himself.
Nick Mostrom ’19, F/O, Shakopee (Minn.) / Frog Lacrosse
A well-put together face-off guy who runs well, Mostrom was dominant at the X during the showcase, essentially playing, “make it, take it,” and backed it up with strong play during the tournament. He was quick on the clamp, was winning face-offs in every which way and could even muscle through bigger poles.
Marco Napolitano ’19, D, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / RC Elite
The Lafayette commit was rock steady for RC Elite, particularly with his on-ball defense. He stays right on guys’ hands and doesn’t give them much, if any, free rein. Napolitano is long and athletic with room to grow and he moves well to stay in his attackman’s hip pocket. He also showed that he’s got a little offensive skill when he ripped a high bouncer home in transition.
Griffin Phillips ’19, LSM/D/A, Jupiter Christian (Fla.) / FCA Colorado
Phillips doesn’t take long to endear himself to coaches when he’s willing to play anywhere it takes. He was strong at LSM, flashing a good stick when easily corralling ground balls to go with good pokes, but he can also play a little offense. In the showcase, he had a goal and two assists as a pole, then later scored again with a short stick when asked to play attack to preserve some of his team’s tired legs.
William Rosenblatt ’20, D, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / Denver Elite
Rosenblatt appears to have an advanced lacrosse IQ with his calculated approaches and his understanding of defensive concepts, and it definitely helps him a ton. He’s seemingly alwaysin good position and also moves well. On one occasion, he baited an attackman into a seemingly innocuous pass before easily breaking on it and picking it off to start transition. He’s not the flashiest guy out there, but he gets the job done.
August “Mustang” Sally ’19, M, Denver East (Colo.) / Denver Elite
This gentleman will be in extremely high demand on Sept. 1. I loved watching him at Adrenaline’s Platinum Cup and he didn’t disappoint in the encore. He’s got great size and can get to wherever he wants on the field, be it by bullying defenders or by nimbly moving around them. Opponents bounce off of him when he gets going downhill. An absolute monster, the lefty was cranking out shots early and often – he loves the low and away shot down the left alley – but also showed that he could dodge to feed and set up his teammates.
Malik Sparrow ’19, LSM, Cherokee Trail (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Sparrow has only been playing lacrosse for three years, and sometimes, the inexperience shows. He’s got some work to do with his off-ball defense, but the athleticism and ability to cover man-to-man is impossible to miss. He’s got great closing speed and on one play, made up 5-10 feet on his man in about three strides before nearly landing an over-the-head check. Also a good football running back, Sparrow’s quick feet and lateral agility stand out, and he can also play mean. He had a vicious caused turnover that you could probably hear three states over.
Jake Taylor ’19, A, Regis Jesuit (Colo.) / Denver Elite
One of the first verbals in the ’19 class, the Denver commit plays up with Denver Elite’s 2018s and doesn’t skip a beat. He’s at his best when making plays off-ball. With his size and hands, he can finish just about anything inside. That being said, he’s no slouch with the ball in his stick. Taylor has good vision and put quite a few of his teammates in opportunistic scoring situations with his deft passing.
Marcus Trujillo ’19, D, Castle View (Colo.) / Denver Elite
According to some of his coaches, Trujillo has significantly improved on his athleticism in the past year, and it’s pretty obvious when you watch him. He’s smooth, runs well and can change directions well to keep up with smaller attackmen. On one play, he smashed the ball out of his man’s stick, gobbled up the ground ball, dusted the ride and dumped off a perfect pass to one of his attackmen. It showed a lot of the traits that make him an appealing prospect. He did particularly well when guarding guys at X, extending them out along GLE to deny good scoring chances.
Isaac Abromovitz ’18, G, Rock Canyon (Colo.) / Thunderbolt
Lake Baker ’21, F/O, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) / Vegas Starz Elite
Shad Bruce ’19, M, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / RC Elite – Lafayette
Cole Findley-Ponds ’19, D, Denver East (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Gavin Gregoire ’19, A, Regis (Colo.) / DoCo Devils Red
Dakota Harmon ’18, G, Clayton Valley (Calif.) / Booth Indians
Chris Haycock ’19, M, Mount Si (Wash.) / Starz HS United
Connor Hollison ’19, G, Park City (Utah) / 212
Ben Hydo ’18, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / RC Elite
Hunter Jacobson ’18, D, Chaparral (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Joshua James ’18, M/A, W.J. Palmer (Colo.) / Denver Elite – Towson
Andrew Manney ’18, A, Lewis-Palmer (Colo.) / Thunderbolts
Connor Monroe ’19, G, Highlands Ranch (Colo.) / DoCo Devils Red
Colby Moore ’18, D, Grandview (Colo.) / Denver Elite – Denver
Alex Pistorius ’19, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / RC Elite
Wynton Bastian ’19, A, La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) / SD United
Julio Novarini ’18, M, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) / FCA CO
Luke Rios ’20, F/O, Cherry Creek (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Hunter Rogers ’20, A, St. Michael’s (Texas) / Dallas Select Khaki
Aidan Sullivan ’20, D, Nauset Regional (Mass.) / South Coast Buzzards
Bodi Sutherland ’20, LSM, Corner Canyon (Utah) / Utah LC
Dom Terrana ’18, D, Palo Verde (Nev.) / Vegas Starz Elite
Garrett Ziegler ’18, A, Valor Christian (Colo.) / Thunderbolt