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Penn State welcomes 4-star RB Devyn Ford to campus
Devyn Ford returned to Happy Valley this week as he took another close look at his potential future college campus. The 4-star running back spent time in State College on Monday, taking advantage of a school holiday.
Ford, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior at North Stafford (Stafford, Va.) High School, encountered a far more intimate environment than on his most recent trip to Penn State. He attended the Nittany Lions’ Oct. 21 win over Michigan, joining dozens of recruiting targets on an extremely busy evening in Beaver Stadium.
This time around, Ford dug into details, according to Penn Live’s Greg Pickel.
“He was able to get a lot of 1-on-1 time with the coaching staff, academic advisors, other members, and was able to sit with [new running backs] Coach [Ja’Juan] Seider 1-on-1, too,” North Stafford coach Joe Mangano told Pickel.
Those are crucial conversations, considering Ford remains on track to announce a verbal commitment in June.
Considered the No. 7 running back and No. 75 overall recruit in the 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, he revealed six favorite universities earlier this month. Along with Penn State, Ford is focused on Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech.
There is plenty of competition in this recruitment but the Nittany Lions have laid substantial groundwork. Penn State welcomed him to Beaver Stadium last April for its spring game, when North Stafford teammate and 4-star tackle prospect Nana Asiedu pledged to the program.
Asiedu signed with the Nittany Lions in December, will enroll this summer and undoubtedly is doing his part to push Ford toward Penn State. Incoming 5-star running back recruit Ricky Slade, another Virginia standout, is another notable peer who could play a part in this pursuit.
“I envision playing in the same backfield as Ricky Slade,” Ford told The Free Lance-Star reporter Taft Coghill Jr. “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.”
Expect another return to State College in the coming months. Ford is developing a travel itinerary for official visits, as high school juniors now can take advantage of a new, early window for those trips.
Penn State will enter the 2018 season with a pair of former 5-star prospects in its backfield, and the addition of Ford would further boost hopes for sustained success moving forward. After establishing a relationship with former Nittany Lions running backs coach Charles Huff, his ongoing dialogue with Seider is an important element.
Ford rushed for 2,056 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2017, according to Inside NOVA. Watch his highlights here:
Top Texas LB recruit Marcel Brooks eliminates Nittany Lions
Penn State is no longer in contention for top-ranked Texas linebacker Marcel Brooks. Though he listed the Nittany Lions among top contenders as recently as last month, Brooks announced Wednesday his recruitment is down to two SEC programs.
The 6-3, 200-pound prospect said he will choose between Alabama and LSU, setting June 25 as his commitment date.
Brooks, who attends Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) High School, called Penn State his “dream school” last May when the Nittany Lions offered him. He grew up in Virginia and his father lives in Baltimore, so proximity didn’t seem to be the issue it otherwise might be for a player in the Lone Star State.
“Being in Virginia, a lot of kids that we grew up with — [Florida State cornerback] Levonta Taylor, [2018 Ohio State signee] Teradja Mitchell — a lot of us liked Penn State,” Brooks told Land of 10 in January. “I always liked Penn State and always liked their coaching.”
James Franklin checked in at Marcus High School in 2017, and Brooks included the Nittany Lions in official visit discussions this winter. However, Penn State must search elsewhere at a position where it signed four 2018 prospects.
Brooks, listed sixth nationally among outside linebackers in 2019 composite rankings, has plenty of company on the Penn State target board. The Nittany Lions continue to push for other 4-star linebacker prospects such as Shane Lee (Baltimore), Cade Stover (Mansfield, Ohio) and Brandon Smith (Mineral, Va.), along with Harrisburg (Pa.) standout Andre White.
Penn State carries two verbal commitments in its 2019 class: New Jersey quarterback Taquan Roberson and local State College cornerback Keaton Ellis.
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