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RB Devyn Ford schedules official visit for Penn State spring game
Penn State has offered nearly half of the top 100 recruits in 247Sports 2019 composite rankings. The Nittany Lions are in solid shape with several of these elite prospects and notable momentum seems to be mounting with running back Devyn Ford.
Ford, a junior at North Stafford (Va.) High School, returned to Happy Valley last week. He spent time at Beaver Stadium in 2017, attending Penn State’s spring game and a win over Michigan on Oct. 21. But this latest trip presented a different opportunity.
“I spent time with the coaches and we got to spend time around the academic center and go around the facilities,” Ford told Land of 10’s Ryan Donnelly. “The last few times I’ve been to Penn State have only been for games, so I didn’t really get to see anything about Penn State. This was a good trip to go down and see what it’s actually like.”
Few experiences in sports compare to a packed Beaver Stadium, but intimate settings are pivotal for efforts to strengthen relationships between player and staff. This is especially important regarding new running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider, who replaced Charles Huff this winter.
Ford, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect, won’t stay away from campus long. His only scheduled official visit weekend so far is set for State College.
“I’ll be going back to Penn State for an official visit on the weekend of April 20 until April 22,” he said. “I don’t know my other official visits for sure right now, but I do know I’m going to get down to Ohio State and Virginia Tech and any more that might come up… I actually don’t know yet about any other officials, that’s one of the things I’m trying to plan out. Only those three have really been trying [to land an official].”
Last month, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin explained his outlook about a change to the college football recruiting calendar that allows high school athletes to utilizes official visits during the spring of their junior year. He expects the spring game to be a major draw and a key task for Penn State coaches.
“Typically when you do official visits, you have official visits and that’s about it,” Franklin said. “For the spring game, we usually average about 200-to-250 unofficial visitors that need to have a good time. We have the game to coach. You also have the issue with hotels. We still have to entertain the guys that are going to come unofficially to Penn State, underclassmen and others, and then you’ve got your biggest probably official visit weekend of the year. It’s going to be challenging.”
Co all state OPOY, 1st team all state running back and 2nd team all state punt returner pic.twitter.com/6AKLPQwg2z
— Damonte’ 🌊 (@TsunamiFord) January 17, 2018
Ford claims more than 30 scholarship offers and declared six favorites in February: Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and Virginia Tech. Plans remain in place for a June commitment announcement, he told Donnelly, though a date hasn’t been determined.
Incoming Nittany Lions freshmen may help Penn State’s push to sign Ford, who is considered the No. 6 running back and No. 70 recruit in composite rankings.
“When there’s someone going in that I know, that I feel like I can connect with on my level, and that I know has been from around my hometown, it helps a lot,” he said. “I know Penn State has [North Stafford teammate] Nana [Asiedu] and Ricky Slade — I’ve known him for the last three years.”
Slade will become the second former 5-star prospect in Penn State’s 2018 running back group, joining junior Miles Sanders. Ford, who tops the list of 2019 running backs in Rivals.com rankings, could make a leap from 4 stars to 5 stars by National Signing Day.
He dominated last season, totaling 2,056 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns, according to Inside NOVA. Watch his 2017 highlights here:
Penn State targets 4-star WR Lance Wilhoite
The Nittany Lions are approaching 20 offers in the 2019 receiver class, spanning more than 10 states in that search. Lance Wilhoite, the latest addition to Penn State’s target board at the position, tops all prospects in Tennessee composite rankings.
Wilhoite, who attends Franklin Road Academy (Nashville), secured a Nittany Lions offer on Thursday. A 6-3, 180-pound playmaker, he surpassed 20 college offers this winter.
Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech are among programs that have entered the mix since December. Tennessee and Vanderbilt present Power 5 options in his home state.
“I know I’m not done, but I can really say I’ve come a super long way,” Wilhoite told Michael Murphy of The Tennessean. “Florida State, Ohio State, Clemson, those are big schools, and not many people can say they have those. It’s really been an eye-opener for me.”
Listed 15th among receivers and 82nd overall in composite rankings, he collected 69 catches for 1,089 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017, according to MaxPreps. His junior campaign featured three games with double-digit receptions, including an 11-catch, 122-yard performance in the season opener.
Other notable Nittany Lions receiver targets include DeMarcco Hellams (Hyattsville, Md.), Marcus Washington (St. Louis), John Dunmore (Hollywood, Fla.) and John Metchie (Ontario, Canada).
Watch Wilhoite’s junior-season highlights here:
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