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Running back Devyn Ford is focused on six universities, including Penn State.

Penn State recruiting: RB Devyn Ford puts Nittany Lions in top 6; surgery for No. 1 WR Julian Fleming

Stay updated as Penn State rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Tyler Donohue, who brings a decade of experience as a national college football reporter and a recruiting department staff member with a Big Ten program. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:20 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Nittany Lions recruiting news.

Elite RB Devyn Ford puts Penn State in top group

Penn State identified running back Devyn Ford as one of its earliest targets in the 2019 recruiting cycle. Persistence paid off Thursday afternoon when the Nittany Lions landed in his top 6.

The 4-star running back prospect also had Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech on the list.

The North Stafford (Va.) High School standout claims more than 30 scholarship offers. Penn State entered the picture April 28, 2016, only two days after Clemson began chasing Ford.

Considered the No. 7 running back and No. 78 overall recruit in 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, Ford seemingly is moving on from an array of other collegiate opportunities that include Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas.

He rushed for 2,056 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2017, according to Inside NOVA.

Ford found plenty of rushing lanes thanks to the blocking of blue-chip offensive tackle Nana Asiedu, who signed with the Nittany Lions in December. These two traveled to State College for the 2017 spring game, then returned Oct. 21 to watch Penn State defeat Michigan.

RELATED: 2018 Penn State recruiting big board

If things go according to plan, Ford will be committed to the school of his choice before next season.

He aims to trim this list in half during the spring before announcing a decision in June, according to Taft Coghill Jr. of The Free Lance-Star. That may set the stage for Ford to travel during the newly allotted spring official visit period.

He has developed excellent chemistry with Nittany Lions coaches and players.

“They’re a young team but they have a ton of potential to be really, really good,” Ford told Coghill. “That’s what I’d like to be a part of. Coach [James] Franklin, he’s that man. He’s a really cool person to be around and I’ve also got Nana. I envision playing in the same backfield as Ricky Slade, too. That would be a lot of fun. [Slade] and I have competed a little bit and that’s what I like. That’s how I’ve gotten better.”

Penn State offered another 2019 running back, 5-star prospect Noah Cain, on Tuesday. He plans to visit campus this spring.

Check out Ford’s junior-season highlights here:

Penn State offers 5-star FSU commit Akeem Dent

The Nittany Lions have been on an offer spree in Florida during recent days, led by new running backs coach and Palm Beach County native Ja’Juan Seider. Penn State extended more than 10 new offers to 2019 prospects from the Sunshine State between Saturday and Wednesday, including some of the state’s most coveted recruits.

Akeem Dent, considered the No. 1 cornerback in 2019 composite rankings, picked on up one Wednesday. It’s his 24th offer, adding to a collection that features every Power 5 conference.

Dent, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior at Palm Beach Central High School, is committed to Florida State. The Seminoles picked up his verbal pledge July 21, 2017, though that occurred with a different coaching staff in place.

This recruitment started early, as Dent initially committed to the Miami Hurricanes on July 16, 2016. He was heading toward his sophomore season at that time.

Penn State targeted two committed juniors this week, also offering Miami offensive line pledge Renato Brown. The Nittany Lions identified another 5-star Florida defensive back of interest Wednesday, adding Josh Sanguinetti to a 2019 board that continues to expand.

Top Pennsylvania prospect Julian Fleming undergoes surgery

Julian Fleming entered his sophomore season at Southern Columbia (Catawissa, Pa.) labeled the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver in the 2020 composite rankings. He responded by catching 69 passes for 1,462 yards and 20 touchdowns.

What many didn’t know is that he spent much of the fall fighting through a significant injury. The 6-2, 180-pound playmaker suffered a torn labrum in his right hip but still managed to torch opponents.

Fleming, who is also a basketball star, continued to compete into the winter. He averaged nearly 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals per game through the first 10 Southern Columbia contests, according to MaxPreps.

The injury needed to be addressed, however, and Fleming underwent surgery Thursday to repair the issue, he told Land of 10.

The procedure involved bone shaving and it will also cause him to miss spring track and field, where Fleming qualified for multiple state championship events as a freshman.

The recovery plan does put him on a path to return for offseason football activities this summer. He earned his latest offer from Alabama on Jan. 26.

Fleming was the first Pennsylvania prospect offered (June 17, 2017) by Penn State in either the 2019 or ’20 classes. His other early college options include Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Watch his 2017 highlights here:

Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.

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