Running on faith

CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Andrew Ford was the new kid in town. Adam Breneman was the big man on campus and Cedar Cliff's best football player.

But it took no time at all for Breneman and Ford to realize the two already had a lot in common.

"The first time I met him I remember he was wearing a bracelet that said 'WWJD' and I realized we share the same faith," Breneman said as Ford sat to his right. "Our motto is faith, family and football. It's something we take very importantly.

"... And I said I better become friends with my quarterback."

Breneman, a five-star tight end, took Ford under his wing despite only the one-year difference in class. Breneman is a junior, Ford a sophomore.

Ford, who will be the Colts' unquestioned QB this fall, went to a parochial school for his middle school years and was slated to attend Red Land High School -- Cedar Cliff's top rival -- before transferring to Cedar Cliff for high school for academic reasons. Befriending Breneman helped smooth Ford's transition.

"Everyone knows who Adam Breneman is," Ford said laughing. "When I walked into school he kind of took me around and introduced me to people. He made everything so much easier."

The presence of Breneman made Ford's transition on the field easier, too. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end is the first five-star prospect at his position in the last four years. Ford, a lanky 6-foot-3, 180-pound southpaw, entered the season as a rotational quarterback but took over the reins midway through Cedar Cliff's first-round playoff game -- the Colts' first home playoff game in school history.

Trailing by two scores, Breneman and Ford hooked up four times for touchdowns. In the first half.

In that game, Breneman, who was triple-covered the entire second half, said you could see the culmination of the mental progress Ford made that season, his first on the varsity team.

"He could always throw the ball. God gave him that ability and thank God he did," Breneman said. "The big thing was mentally ... and the maturity he has as only a sophomore. He's making his reads. If the No. 1 or No. 2 guy isn't there he checks down to the third guy. A lot of young quarterbacks struggle with that, but he's doing it pretty well."

Colleges are now starting to take notice of Ford, who grew up idolizing former Penn State lefty quarterback Zack Mills. Ford has visited Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers and plans to hit the camp circuit during the summer.

Breneman is one of the most sought-after prospects in the East. One of 26 early five-star prospects, Breneman has 29 offers and all but one is from a BCS conference. Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State are just a handful of programs that highlight those scholarships.

For Breneman and Ford, who jokes about mooching off of Breneman's recognition, the recruiting process is something the two are constantly discussing.

"There isn't a day we don't talk about it," Breneman said. "We both love football and college, and we're both getting recruited. It's cool to kind of have a best friend also getting recruited with me. It helps us grow closer together on the field and off the field."

Jared Shanker covers Midwest recruiting. He can be reached at jshankerespn@gmail.com.