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Tyson Ford ate lunch last week with a foreign face staring back at him. That face is going to start looking much more familiar to the No. 9 strong side defensive end in the country per, though.

It was the face of Touchdown Jesus.

Ford, a four-star class of 2022 prospect from St. Louis John Burroughs, found himself on Notre Dame’s campus for the first time during his official visit from June 14-16. Ford committed to the Fighting Irish on Jan. 18 but had not seen South Bend until now because of the recruiting dead period.

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Four-star 2022 defensive end Tyson Ford said he was impressed with the culture at Notre Dame during his first visit.
Four-star 2022 defensive end Tyson Ford said he was impressed with the culture at Notre Dame during his first visit. (Nick Lucero/

The first thing that struck Ford was Notre Dame’s culture of camaraderie. That’s something that’s hard to pick up on over the phone or through Zoom calls. It was evident right away in person.

“What I really didn’t expect was how close the players and coaches are,” Ford said. “I don’t think it’s like that at any other school. Not that I’ve seen. The coaches get along so well, and they actually spend time with each other’s families outside of coaching. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that before.

“The players spend a lot of time together too. They’re competitive, but everything is a brotherhood at the end of the day. They’re not too competitive where they’re trying to sabotage people who play the same position as them. They actually love each other and have great relationships.”

Ford told he is 100% locked into his commitment for those reasons, and there is obviously a pure football perspective that plays into his decision too. He was enamored by walking through the hall that houses the hardware of seven Heisman Trophies and many other awards from players of the program’s past.

Then came the conversation with head coach Brian Kelly.

“He said I’ll be more than ready to come in and play immediately,” Ford said. “I think that was great to hear. He has high expectations for me and expects me to play and come in and be able to make an impact.”

Ford is a big piece of a Notre Dame class that currently ranks No. 2 nationally according to Rivals after linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka’s commitment this past Saturday. He is currently Notre Dame’s highest ranked commit of the class, too.

Ford and Tuihalamaka are two of 11 four-star commits in this cycle, which already ties as many four-stars as Notre Dame signed in the class of 2021.


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