Dream come true for Keith Ford

CYPRESS, Texas -- Some love the game for the competition. Others simply love the honor of being tabbed an All-American.

But for Cypress (Texas) Cypress Ranch running back Keith Ford, who on Thursday was given his honorary game jersey as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, the excitement is rooted in something else entirely.

"I've been to Disney World three times," Ford said with a smile, "but it's always good to go again."

Yes, Ford is going to get the chance to go back to Walt Disney World, only this time as an Under Armour All-American.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back, who was the first commitment in Oklahoma's 2013 recruiting class, received his jersey in front of family, friends and his Cypress Ranch teammates. His mother, Mary Ford, said that the family had watched the game on ESPN in recent years and that she wanted her son to be a part of it.

That wish came true.

"It's an exciting opportunity to play in this game, just seeing the history behind it," Keith Ford said. "It's an honor and very few people get selected to play in this game. I'm happy I'm one of them.

"Every little kid should look on TV when this game comes on and strive to be the best they can be."

This season, Ford has rushed for 993 yards and 14 touchdowns for Cypress Ranch, a team that is looking for a playoff berth as its regular season hits the homestretch. As for his college destination, Ford is solidly committed to the Sooners, even saying "We" when talking about Oklahoma.

Ford, who's rated the nation's No. 3 running back and No. 32 overall prospect in the ESPN 150, originally committed to the Sooners on a junior day trip on March 4.

"I have a strong commitment to Oklahoma," Ford said. "Just everything about it from the academics, to the coaches, to how they do things — it's just a great opportunity and I want to be part of it."

And it's not just the football program that Ford is excited about.

"Academics," Ford said. "Some schools are football mostly, you go in there, play football and go to the NFL and then what do you have after that? Having that degree takes you a long way, so that's what I'm focused on."

Ford is heading to Norman, Okla., to watch the Sooners host Notre Dame on Saturday. He's excited about that trip, but he's also bringing his jacket along for the ride.

"It's going to be cold," Ford said. "I did it last year, went to the Iowa State game and it was freezing ... but that's what I'm going to be playing in, so I've got to get used to it."