Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.
Our latest Penn State Nittany Lions Recruiting Question of the Day comes from Dave Duke on Facebook.
As Dave referenced in his question, which was asked during our weekly Penn State football recruiting show on Facebook Live (8 p.m. Wednesdays here), I had an opportunity to spend time with running back recruit Devyn Ford this month. Hopefully, you followed Land of 10’s coverage two weeks ago while we made our way through Maryland and Virginia, meeting with four incoming Nittany Lions freshmen in their hometowns.
Along the way, these travels presented an opportunity for conversation with Ford, a classmate of Penn State tackle signee Nana Asiedu at North Stafford (Va.) High School. The initial impression matched descriptions I’d heard from coaches. Ford is a mature, well-spoken and motivated student-athlete who will be a fine addition to any college locker room.
During our discussion, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound prospect made it increasingly clear he is nearly ready to conclude a widespread recruitment. Ford has been the center of attention for several collegiate coaching staffs since his freshman season, and is now in the final stretch of a lengthy search for the right fit.
Though he declined to shut the door outright on other options, Ford explained this decision is essentially down to three schools: Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. All three programs will receive an official visit in April.
“I’ve been in this process for three years and some things can become very repetitive, so I get tired of focusing on places or visiting schools that aren’t really in my interest,” he said. “I’m getting ready to lock it in and get down to business. … I’ve already seen the campuses, the fans, the weight rooms, all that. Now I’m just looking at what relationships I can build with coaches.”
Ford will verbally commit to the college of his choice on May 18 in celebration of his grandmother’s birthday, according to The Free Lance-Star’s Taft Coghill Jr. He did mention his grandmother as a major force for guidance, so it’s great to see him using this milestone moment as a tribute to her.
You can get your own sense of Ford’s personality by watching the video of our interview here:
Considered the No. 73 overall recruit in 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, Ford earned first-team all-state honors as a running back and punt returner in 2017. He finished last season with 2,056 rushing yards and 32 total touchdowns.
“He’s an explosive, explosive weapon,” Asiedu said. “Once he hits that outside crease, I know he’s gone. All of the sudden I hear ‘Devin Ford for the Wolverines touchdown.’ And I’m like, ‘Dang, that was fast.’ We’re going to love if he comes to Penn State.”
Ford most recently traveled to Happy Valley on Presidents Day (Feb. 19). Nittany Lions coach James Franklin and new running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider will get another shot to impress when he comes to town April 20-22 for an official visit, coinciding with the Blue-White Game (April 21).
It’s the second straight year in which Ford will attend Penn State’s spring game. Asiedu committed to Franklin before kickoff of the 2017 Blue-White Game and will be back on campus with Ford again.
Dave asked about the “vibes” I picked up while speaking with Ford. Aside from walking away impressed by him as a person, it’s clear he is seriously considering Penn State. He’s not wasting anyone’s time at this point, so the interest in each of these three universities is legitimate.
He expressed plenty of confidence and comfort about potentially sharing a college backfield with fellow Virginia running back Ricky Slade, a 5-star prospect who enrolls at Penn State in June. The Nittany Lions have a built-in advantage here since Asiedu sees Ford just about every day, and the lineman is actively recruiting his teammate to join him.
Dave also referenced the verbal pledge Ohio State recently received from top-10 running back recruit Sampson James, and wanted to know whether that might make an impact here. Perhaps, but again, Ford didn’t flinch away from the idea of high-level competition while discussing the pieces in place for Penn State’s backfield.
I get the sense this is a player who will push others — and himself — to become better when faced with a contested environment.
Ford and those in his support system have invested significant dialogue, resources and road trips to whittle down an offer list that features more than 30 Power 5 programs. It was a tiring process, and produced three primary contenders. Ford will now examine each with a fine-tooth comb, searching for separators while comparing and contrasting these schools.
Each of these official visits could make the difference, whether it’s due to a positive or negative experience. We’ll keep close tabs on this recruitment as it evolves and this is clearly a priority prospect to know as Penn State assembles its 2019 class.
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