Hilton Head Island High defensive tackle Poona Ford announced his college intentions Tuesday night, ending a year-long recruiting process that saw the senior grow into one of the Southeast's most sought-after football prospects.
Ford picked Louisville over South Carolina, Tennessee, Purdue, Mississippi and Kansas State in a 7 p.m. press conference at his school.
The 6-foot, 285-pound tackle has favored the Volunteers, Cardinals and Gamecocks for some time and ultimately chose between those three.
"It's a great fit for him," Hilton Head coach B.J. Payne told the Island Packet newspaper. "They did a great job recruiting him. I'm not saying anybody else didn't, but they did a great job recruiting him. When he went there for a visit he was there all day. ... I'm talking all day. He was on campus and in the facilities. He sat with coach (Charlie) Strong for three hours. Coach Strong was with him the whole day."
Ford burst onto the scene after a dynamic junior year that saw him register 154 tackles, 44 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
He is rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports and a three-star recruit by Rivals.com.
"The bottom line is he's an absolute incredible kid who made a decision based on what he felt was the right fit for him," Payne told the Island Packet. "I don't care where our kids go to school. I always tell them to find the right fit for you and then go from there, whether that fit is football, financially or education. That's the way I've always been. Whether that choice would have been South Carolina, Clemson, Louisville, Purdue, Kansas State, wherever. As long as it was the right fit for him."
He is the fifth instate player among the top 10 in South Carolina who are set to go out of state for college, according to the 247Composite rankings that factor in all networks.
Louisville has three commitments from the state of South Carolina for 2014, with Ford being the highest-rated.
South Carolina and Clemson each have limited scholarships for the upcoming class, with a deeper pool of top talent inside the state. Six of the Gamecocks' 12 commitments are from South Carolina.