Falcons Two Sport Standout and 1,000 Point Scorer Headed to NJAC Gridiron
METUCHEN, NJ—Prior to going out for the football team as a junior, St. Joseph’s basketball standout, Tyree Ford had already established himself as a solid basketball player. Over his first two seasons with the Falcons, Ford along with the likes of fellow graduating senior, K-Shawn Schulters had contributed to back to back GMC Red Division and GMCT Champions as well as reached a sectional final.
Playing on the gridiron for the Falcons only enhanced Ford’s stature as an all around athlete. Despite enduring an injury in an opening day loss to North Brunswick in 2018, Ford went on to make significant contributions to the Falcons Football team in several ways, especially on defense and special teams. Ford also sealed St. Joseph’s last GMCT title with a putback in the closing seconds of the 49-46 win over Piscataway in the 2019 GMCT Championship.
Now, Ford, who became the 17th player on the school’s 1,000 point club, and finished 11th on the Falcons all time scoring list, looks to continue his athletic career on the gridiron. Late last month, Ford announced his intentions to stay close to home by attending Kean University in the fall and play for the Cougars football team as per NJHoops.
Although the Falcons run of 12 straight GMCT Finals appearances was derailed by South Brunswick in the 2020 GMCT Semifinals, St. Joseph’s senior class led by Ford and Schulters, and also included the likes of Andrew Olden, Adam Slawinski, Demarcus Shepard, Martin Greene, Eric Amponsah, and Henri Brignot still managed to accomplish a great deal. With an overall record of 87-25 including a mark of 49-7 in the GMC Red these Falcons garnered 4 GMCT Final Four appearances, 3 GMCT crowns, 3 division titles, 3 sectional semifinal appearances, and one Non-Public A Finals berth.
Ford completed his basketball career with 1,166 points to put him ahead of school legend Frank Fitzgerald, who was the first St. Joe’s Falcon hoops standout on to play in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals after scoring over 1,000 points and grabbing over 500 rebounds at Boston College. This past season, Ford played in all 28 games for St. Joseph’s and scored 231 points, or an average of 8.3 points per game to ranked 3rd on the team in scoring.
As a junior, Ford played in all 28 games for the Falcons, and finished with a total of 281 points on 108 field goals including 30 three pointers, and 41 free throws while also grabbing 58 rebounds, swiping 18 steals, and handing out 13 assists according to stats compiled at nj.com. Like this season, the Falcons went 19-9 overall, but still managed to rally for the 2019 GMCT with single digit wins over Carteret (69-61), Colonia (59-56), and Piscataway (59-56).
The 2017-18 season was perhaps the most successful of Ford’s four year career. Although the Falcons finished 23-5, they managed to overcome a coaching change at the start of the school year to continue its GMCT Championship streak, repeat as GMC Red Champs, and most importantly, reach a sectional final before losing to Camden Catholic at Brick Memorial.
Ford, who was a sophomore during the Falcons 2017-18 campaign, played in 27 of the team’s 28 games and led the team in scoring with 378 points, or an average of 13.5 points per game. He made 148 field goals including 41 three pointers while netting 43 free throws. Ford scored in double figures 20 times including five games of 20 points or more. One of those was a career high of 27 points in a contest covered by GMC Hoops against Asbury Park (won 81-63) in the opening round of the 2017 Score at the Shore Holiday Tournament held at Southern Regional in Manahawkin.
Combining with Zach Martini (Gill-St. Bernard’s) and Richie Greaves (Roselle Catholic), Ford was part of a freshman trio that made key contributions to a St. Joseph’s Falcons team that was originally picked 5th in the GMC Hoops Pre-Season Top 10, and 3rd in the GMC Red, but led by the likes of returning seniors Letrell West, Malachi Walker, and Mike Granda, overcame those odds to go undefeated in the Red Division and win the 2017 GMCT over Sayreville en route to reaching the Non-Public A sectional semifinals, and finishing 26-2 overall.
During that 2016-17 campaign, Ford managed to finish third on the team in scoring behind West and Greaves. Only a freshman, Ford played in 27 games, made 96 field goals including 49 threes along with 27 foul shots for 276 points, or an average of 10.2 points per game. He also collected 99 rebounds, 48 steals, 40 assists, and 6 blocked shots for an average of 3.7 points, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 assists per contest. Over his four years, Ford scored in double figures 63 times including 7 games of 20 points or more.
On the gridiron, Ford contributed to a St. Joseph’s Football program that went a combined 15-5 overall and 8-1 in GMC Blue play over the past two seasons. The Falcons won a Blue Division tile in 2018, and qualified for the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 state playoffs each year. St. Joe’s also recorded historic wins over Group 4 power Westfield, and GMC powerhouses North Brunswick, Piscataway, and South Brunswick.
After being a significant contributor on defense and with his great punting as a junior, Ford became more of a factor on offense in 2019. Ford was used in special packages that produced significant results for the Falcons. He completed 5 of 13 passes for 114 yards, and one INT, but also rushed 52 times for 213 yards, or over 4 yards per carry along with 3 touchdowns and one two point conversion. One of those TDs was the go ahead score in the thrilling victory over Piscataway (15-14). Ford also caught 11 passes for 102 yards, and 3 more TDs.
On defense, Ford was a stalwart with 24 tackles including one sack, and an interception. And then, there was his punting, where he was one of the top punters in the Garden State and the GMC. Ford continued a great tradition of kicking and punting for St. Joe’s that was started by the likes of Bryan Rafano (graduated from Wagner) and Jon Sot, who is currently playing at Harvard.
At Kean, Ford will be joining a football program that improved last season from two years ago. Following a 1-9 season in 2018, the Cougars finished 3-7 overall including a 2-5 mark in the NJAC in 2019. The last winning season at Kean was in 2016 when the Cougars finished 7-4 overall including a mark of 5-4 in conference. The 2016 season culminated with Kean defeating SUNY Cortland in the ECAC Clayton Chapman Bowl, 30-27.
Former GMC standouts that have played on the gridiron at Kean include former Woodbridge football and basketball standout Anthony Nyers, who is now the Freshmen Basketball Coach as well as an assistant football coach for the Barrons, former Bishop Ahr and North Brunswick hoops and gridiron talent, Dillon Salva, Bishop Ahr’s Robbie Meade, Carteret’s Tyler and Justin Rodriguez, Old Bridge’s Christopher Middleton and Chris Weber, and Spotswood’s Shawn O’Connor.
Currently playing football at Kean is former Highland Park football and basketball standout Dylan Boynton, Edison gridiron standout, Reilly Gonzalez, Middlesex’s Ahmaad Rawlins, Old Bridge’s Mark Demaio and Jemel Daniels, South Brunswick’s Jalen John, Woodbridge’s Ian Maina, and Perth Amboy’s David Welch III.
Congratulations Tyree, and best of luck playing football at the next level.