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Former Stillwater TE Josh Ford 'has been very impressive' in OSU spring football

Mar. 29—It took just one day of Oklahoma State spring football for true freshman tight end Josh Ford, a former Stillwater Pioneer, to come up in conversation.

He and the other early enrollees were a part of the team's nine-week session in the offseason, and coach Mike Gundy said Ford "has been very impressive."

"He came in in really good physical condition and he's got good size, good presence," Gundy said. "The offseason didn't seem to scare him."

The name drop was somewhat of a surprise because Gundy doesn't talk much about his young players and usually refers to them by their numbers. Though he is more familiar with Ford than most because he played with his son, Gage, for two years.

It wasn't surprising to Stillwater coach Chad Cawood.

"Josh is different," Cawood said. "He loves the physicality of it. He's going to work his tail off, mentally and physically, to make sure he's ready."

Ford projects as the prototypical tight end in a Mike Gundy offense. The position, especially when it was designated as "cowboy back," is primarily used as an extra offensive tackle.

At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, Ford should fit right in.

"There's not many kids walking around anywhere that look like Josh," Cawood said. "When you get kids that walk in the door like that, those kids excite you. And when he showed up, they realized he fits in. It'll be really cool to see what he looks like in two years after (strength and conditioning coach) Rob Glass has had him."

The big question regarding Ford is whether or not he can be a legitimate receiving threat. The Pioneers didn't ask him to be one as he only had 22 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns as a senior, despite being the best athlete on the field.

The best season from an OSU tight end in the past decade was Blake Jarwin's in 2016, when he had 19 catches for 309 yards and two touchdowns. It's not a position Gundy likes to give the ball to.

"Josh catches the ball well. We were more of a run, play action team. We could have used him more out there, but it's not what we do offensively," Cawood said. "He'll be able to do that. It's not like they're asking him to catch a post 50 yards down the field."

The tight end/fullback/cowboy back room is a bit mysterious in spring camp. Seniors Josiah Johnson and Braden Cassity are gone.

The program added Ohio University super senior Tyler Foster from the transfer portal in January.

Senior Quinton Stewart has one catch in his career and junior Tabry Shettron has zero.

Freshman don't play much for OSU, but if one did in 2024, Ford would be among the most likely.

"I will be surprised if Josh doesn't find his way on the field next year," Cawood said. "I'm not saying an everyday starter, I'm saying in some packages and things like that just because of how hard I know he's going to work."