Head coach and general manager Chris Jones made the announcement following practice on Friday, as the team made their return to action after a bye week. The organization revealed on Monday that their previous starter, Taylor Cornelius, would be demoted to short-yardage duties going forward but had not yet named a replacement between Ford and American rookie Jarret Doege.
Ford has yet to see the field this season and was recently challenged by Jones to play better in practice. The six-foot-one, 185-pound passer was a first-round pick in the 2022 CFL Draft out of the University of Waterloo and made his first career start in Week 4 last season. He threw for 159 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats — the first by a USports quarterback since 1985. He started again the next week against the Calgary Stampeders but exited early after suffering a shoulder injury.
The Niagara Falls, Ont. native made one final start against the B.C. Lions in mid-October after Edmonton had already been eliminated from postseason contention. He completed 22-of-36 pass attempts for 242 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while running the ball eight times for 72 yards.
Ford won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best player in U Sports football in 2021, completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,770 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions while rushing 66 times for 667 yards and three touchdowns in seven games. In 33 career games for the Warriors, he completed 69 percent of his passes for 8,003 yards, 64 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions while rushing for 2,816 yards and 19 majors.
The Waterloo product caught the attention of scouts on both sides of the border due to his freakish athleticism, recording a 4.45-second forty-yard dash, 36-inch vertical jump, ten-foot, five-inch broad jump, 6.85-second three-cone drill, and 4.27-second shuttle in the pre-draft process. He attended rookie mini-camp with the Baltimore Ravens in 2022 and logged tryouts with the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders this offseason.
The quarterback swap for the Elks comes after Jarious Jackson was promoted to the role of offensive coordinator, while Stephen McAdoo was demoted to an advisory role. Edmonton ranks last in a number of offensive categories and has scored an average of 13.1 per game amid an 0-8 start. The club was shut out for a second time this season in a 27-0 loss to the B.C. Lions on Saturday, prompting the coaching change.
The Elks (0-8) are scheduled to host the West Division-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-2) on Thursday, August 10. Last week, the team set a North American pro sports record with their 21st consecutive home loss.