Trace Ford is a high-level pass rusher for the current number eight ranked college football team in the nation, Oklahoma State University. The Edmond Santa Fe alum is a redshirt junior that is extremely talented and beaming with next-level potential. More than that, however, is the person Ford is. He is a unique guy, can always be found with a smile, and cares for others.
Trace and I grew up playing baseball together and have kept in touch over the years. I will never forget when I lost my dad in January of 2021 and the message I received from Trace. His kindness, empathy, condolences, and friendship at a moment like that was truly touching. I am proud to call him a friend. Here is my conversation with him in an interview style, question and answer format.
Q: To begin, I’d like to go back in time and start from there. When did you first develop your love for sports?
A: I developed my love for sports when I was 3 and my dad put me into baseball. The earliest memories in my life, that I can recall, all mainly come from being on the baseball field or watching my older brother play baseball before I could even swing a bat.
Q: That’s where my next question was headed. For those that don’t know, you really were a talented baseball player. Can you just talk about your love for the game and if you ever considered playing at the next level?
A: Baseball has always been my number one love. It was hard coming to college and not having baseball in my life. I grew up wanting to play in the MLB, that was my dream. I grew up a competitor, though, and that’s all I know is how to compete. I love football and I love that I still have the opportunity to compete on the field. My dream is to make it to the NFL and continue competing and improving my game. Football is a close second. Sports are my hobby and love, so I’m just happy to be able to do play at this level.
Q: Shifting toward football, what was your recruitment process like and did you enjoy it?
A: My recruitment process was fast. I got recruited late so everything had to be sped up for me because of how many offers I was getting in a limited amount of time. I went on visits every weekend with my mom or dad and enjoyed it so much. Just seeing all of the universities in person was a different experience. It did get tiring at the end, just having so many options and just not truly knowing where I wanted to go. It was a big decision, probably one of the biggest decisions in my life.
Q: What made you choose to stay in state and play for OSU over your other options?
A: First reason, was that I was afraid to leave the state and be away from my family. I’ve always been close to my family and I’m kind of an introvert so it made most sense. Second, I saw an opportunity at Oklahoma State to play at an early age and I also knew a couple guys on Oklahoma State’s team, and I grew up watching OSU, so it was a no brainer. Plus, I love the underdog mentality that OSU represents in college football. No matter how good they are, they always have doubters and that fit my personality perfectly.
Q: How does it feel to be able to play for a top 10 football program in the country?
A: It feels great. It especially feels great that even though we are ranked, we still are perceived to be the underdog of the top 10. It keeps the pressure off our backs and allows us to play Cowboy football.
Q: What does a typical game day look like for you? What’s the schedule like?
A: Depends on the game time, but usually wake up, go to breakfast, then walk throughs, and then have a little downtime to hangout in the hotel. I usually play chess and watch the games that are being played. Then we have chapel, meetings, and then head to the stadium.
Q: As an athlete, it can be difficult to overcome injuries and have time off from the sport you love. After suffering back-to-back knee injuries like you did, how were you able to overcome that mentally, physically, and emotionally to return to where you are today?
A: It was hard. The hardest part was the mental aspect. Physically, it was no problem but mentally and emotionally it hurt a lot. I overcame it by having a great supporting staff like family, friends, teammates and coaches. I’ve seen other people in worse positions than myself and I decided that it wasn’t the end of the world, and I wouldn’t stay on the ground, so I decided to get up and keep pushing.
Q: What was it like scoring your first career touchdown last week? What was going through your mind on that play?
A: It was a great feeling. It gave me a lot of confidence and made me feel like I was truly back to myself playing on that field with no fear in my heart. I’ve scored plenty in high school, so it wasn’t like a crazy thing to me but the block on the other hand was a pretty fun experience to have. We practiced that play all week and I knew I had a chance and it kind of just happened. I saw my opportunity and jumped at it and was able to block it.
Q: What has been your favorite memory playing CFB? Is there a moment or play that stands out above the rest?
A: Getting the strip sack against West Virginia was a pretty great feeling but that touchdown was probably tied.
Q: What are some interesting things about yourself or hobbies you enjoy that most people wouldn’t know?
A: On my free time I like to fish very much. I like to play Call of Duty and I love to play chess.
Q: What does the next chapter of your life look like for you once you’re done with college?
A: Hopefully I can get a chance in the NFL and continue playing ball. That is my goal for right now, but I also have two business degrees and so hopefully I social network the right way and find a path to pursue.
Q: If there are kids out there that look up to you or aspire to be college athletes, what advice would you give them?
A: I would tell them that no matter what they think, it is possible to play in college. I didn’t ever think I would play college football until the end of my junior year. Anything is possible if you have the mindset that it’s attainable.
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