CINCINNATI — Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford will enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
The redshirt junior announced Monday he will forgo his final year of eligibility after leading the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff semifinal Cotton Bowl against his former team, Alabama. Ford rushed for 1,219 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2021.
"After talking with my family and those closest to me, I have made the decision to enter the 2022 NFL Draft," Ford said. "It has always been my dream to play in the NFL and I am in this position because of everything the University of Cincinnati has given me."
In a statement, UC head coach Luke Fickell said Ford was a "leader by example" who embodied the "humble and hungry" culture in Clifton.
"I'm proud of what he accomplished on the field, but even more proud of the person he is off the field," Fickell said. "He earned his degree and will always be a Bearcat. He was a joy to coach, and I can't wait to see what he accomplishes in the NFL and in life."
Ford was named first-team All-AAC and MVP of the ACC Championship Game in his final season with the Bearcats. He also tied school records for total touchdowns (20) and rushing touchdowns (19) in a single season.
Echoing his statement before Cincinnati's CFP appearance, Ford said in his announcement, "I will forever be proud to be a Cincinnati Bearcat."
ESPN reports Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Ford as the 10th-best running back available in the draft.