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TE Luke Ford transferring to Illinois

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The Illini finally will get the big tight end.

Twitter: @lukeredx97

If you fail once, try again.

That was Illinois’ motto when it comes to Illinois native Luke Ford, who ditched the Illini in his recruiting process in 2017 in favor of SEC powerhouse Georgia.

Except the Carterville, Illinois native — and once four-star recruit — barely hit the field in Athens, which led to Ford announcing his intent to transfer to Illinois on Friday.

Ford wrote in the tweet that “due to my grandparents’ deteriorating health and my family’s inability to afford to see me play in person each week, I will be transferring to Illinois.”

Ford tweeted two photos with his grandfather in mid-December.

Ford’s commitment follows four-star LB Shammond Cooper’s commitment to Illinois’ 2019 class at the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-6, 252-pound tight end was the top Illinois recruit in 2017 and initially verbally committed to Arkansas before flipping to Georgia, who lost to Texas in the Sugar Bowl. According to 247, Ford was not with the Bulldogs as they practiced for the game two weeks ago.

Ford caught one pass for nine yards in the season-opener against Austin Peay before being used as a blocker for the remainder of the season.

The Illini signed tight end Daniel Barker in the 2018 class, and Barker had a solid freshman campaign. Illinois also expected another breakout year from sophomore Louis Dorsey, who left the program midseason. Had Ford chose the Illini last year, he may have had a starting spot or played a major role in the offense early on, but the opportunity to play for a national contender may have been too good to pass up.

Well, now he plans on being an Illini.

Some of the reaction to Ford’s announcement:

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