RB Jerome Ford, 'a leader by example,' leaves Cincinnati football program to enter NFL draft

Jerome Ford cuts outside and goes 42 yards for the rushing TD (0:33)

Jerome Ford breaks off another big run, this time for a 42-yard touchdown. (0:33)

Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford is heading to the NFL, the school announced Monday.

Ford led the Bearcats with 1,319 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2021, as Cincinnati became the first team from outside the Power 5 to qualify for the College Football Playoff.

"He was a leader by example and embodied the 'humble and hungry' culture we have built here," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said in a statement. "He was a joy to coach, and I can't wait to see what he accomplishes in the NFL and in life."

In the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic last week, Cincinnati fell to Ford's former team, Alabama, with the redshirt junior running back going for 77 yards on 15 carries.

Ford finished his Cincinnati career with 1,802 rushing yards and 27 scores. His 6.25 yards-per-carry average is the best in the program's modern history (since 1950).

Ford was a three-star recruit out of Florida, and he played two seasons at Alabama, appearing in eight games with one start before transferring to Cincinnati.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Ford as the 10th-best back available in the 2022 draft.