Eaves Lands In-State Defenseman Keegan Ford

A brutal weekend for Wisconsin sports ends on a high note Sunday. After seeing the Badgers and Packers lose on the same weekend for the first time since November 2008, Wisconsin hockey fans were treated to a nice surprise when Keegan Ford gave his verbal commitment to Mike Eaves and the Badgers for 2014.

Ford tweeted his commitment Sunday saying, "Proud to say that I am a Wisconsin Badger."

Ford, a 16 year old defenseman from Waunakee told Bucky's 5th Quarter Sunday night that he had heard from upwards of 15 schools during the recruiting process. He eventually narrowed it down to three, touring Ohio State and North Dakota in addition to Wiscoinsin.

The Badgers always had a leg up from the start. In addition to growing up in Wisconsin, Ford's father Pat played for Wisconsin from 1984-1988. Pat also coached the Badgers as an assistant under Jeff Sauer from 1994-2002.

In the end, the home town Badgers were just too much to pass up.

"In the end I chose Wisconsin because It's where I've wanted to go since my dad was coaching," Ford said. "And I think I can develop my hockey skills with a great coaching staff, and outstanding facilities."

Ford noted that it's an honor to carry on the family legacy at the University of Wisconsin.

"It's a great honor to say I'm going to a school where my dad played, and I grew up watching him coach," Ford said.

Ford has spent the past two years playing for Waunakee high school, and Team Wisconsin before and after the high school season.

As a sophomore last season, the young blue-liner recorded 33 goals and 41 assists for 74 points in just 27 games. Absolutely jaw dropping numbers for a high school sophomore defenseman.

This season Ford will be moving on to the USHL. The 5'9, 177 pound mobile rear-guard signed a tender with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Ford will play the next two seasons with them before joining the Badgers.

Ford isn't the only future Badger playing in Dubuque this season. 2015 Wisconsin forward recruit Seamus Malone also signed a tender with the Fighting Saints. Additionally, Dubuque drafted Ford's older brother Jason, who led the state of Wisconsin in scoring last season with 103 points in 27 games.

Ford has a history of playing with Malone. The pair were prominent members of the U.S. U17 team that brought home a gold medal this summer from the U17 Five Nations tournament in the Czech Republic.

Don't let his size fool you, Ford is the real deal. A scouting report I wrote this spring after viewing him at a tryout included the following:

"He's only 5'9 but he's got a thick lower half and isn't afraid to hit. He's always positionally aware and you can tell he really thinks the game. Advanced."

Ford is the fourth member of Wisconsin's 2014 recruiting class. He joins defensemen Peter Tischke (Chicago Mission U18) and Jake Linhart (Green Bay Gamblers), and forward Grant Besse (Benilde-St. Margaret's HS).

Ford was sky high after making his final decision on Sunday.

"It's just an amazing feeling."

The Ford File

  • Player: Keegan Ford
  • Team: Waunakee HS (Last Season)
  • USHL Rights: Dubuque Fighting Saints (Will play there this season)
  • Hometown: Waunakee, Wisconsin
  • Position: Defense
  • Size: 5'9, 177
  • Handed: Left
  • Expected Arrival: 2014
  • Twitter Account: @Keegs_7
  • 2012 Stats: 27 games, 33 goals, 41 assists, 74 points
  • Other Schools Considered: North Dakota, Ohio State
Wisconsin Committed Recruits (2011-12 Stats)
Player
Team
Position
Arrival
Size
DOB
Games
Goals
Assists
Points
Spencer Bell
Maple Grove HS (MN)
F
2012
6'2, 175
7-14-1994
30
19
26
45
Grant Besse
Benilde-St. Margaret's
F
2014
5'10, 175
7-14-1994
31
52
41
93

Team Northwest***




24
17
18
35
Tim Davison
Notre Dame Academy
D
2013
5'10, 169
3-2-1994
30
13
38
51

Team Wisconsin***




21
1
11
12
Christian Dvorak
Chicago Mission 16
F
2015
6'0, 155
2-2-1996
29
21
24
45
Keegan Ford
Waunakee HS
D
2014
5'9, 177
5-30-1996
27
33
41
74
Nicolas Kerdiles
USA NTDP U18
F
2012
6'1, 194
1-11-1994
54
22
26
48
Jake Linhart
Chicago Mission U16
D
2014
5'10, 160
1-17-1996
29
4
10
14
Seamus Malone
Chicago Mission U16
F
2015
5'10, 160
5-6-1996
28
13
20
33
Corbin McGuire
Springfield (EJHL)***
F
2013
5'8, 185
3-2-1994
11
4
2
6

Jersey (EJHL)




40
5
13
18
Kevin Schulze
Muskegon (USHL)***
D
2012
5'9, 155
4-29-1993
8
0
6
6

Omaha (USHL)




50
2
20
22
Peter Tischke
Chicago Mission U16
D
2014
6'0, 178
1-3-1996
28
3
11
14
Eddie Wittchow
Waterloo (USHL)
D
2012
6'4, 200
10-31-1992
69
5
17
23
Morgan Zulinick
Salmon Arm (BCHL)
C
2012
5'11, 185
6-29-1994
57
24
42
66
Wisconsin Committed Recruits (Goalies)
Player
Team
Position
Arrival
Size
DOB
Record
GAA
Save %
SO
Gabe Grunwald
Michigan (NAHL)***
G
2013
6'3, 190
3-15-1993
0-4
4.56
.871
0

Kenai River (NAHL)




1-1
3.14
.896
0
Adam Miller
Jersey Hitmen (EJHL)
G
2012

3-13-1992
12-3-1
2.58
.915
1

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