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Coveted 2019 target amazed by Happy Valley visit, got early heads up from teammate
Penn State plucks top prospects out of Virginia with regularity. The Nittany Lion’s offensive backfield is a particular beneficiary of this success.
Current starting QB Trace McSorley played high school football in the state. So did his predecessor, 5-star recruit Christian Hackenberg.
Running backs Tony Hunt and Evan Royster — both 1,000-yard rushers in Happy Valley — built their early reputations on the prep fields of Virginia. Penn State commit Ricky Slade, a 5-star running back in the 247Sports 2018 Composite, shares the same background.
Now North Stafford High standout Devyn Ford sits on the Nittany Lions’ recruiting board. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore received a scholarship offer last April and spent time on campus last Saturday.
He attended the Penn State spring game alongside teammate Nana Asiedu. This tandem arrived in State College uncommitted but only one returned home with that distinction.
Asiedu, a 4-star recruit considered the No. 9 overall offensive tackle in 2018 composite rankings, pledged to Penn State prior to kickoff. This development caused a stir across the national recruiting landscape, but it didn’t qualify as breaking news for Ford.
His friend and blocker gave him a heads up about those commitment plans shortly before making things formal in the office of coach James Franklin. Still, the moment resonated strongly with Ford.
“It meant a lot to me to see a person who I’ve played with have that chance to commit to a school, go to college and do something with his life,” he said. “It means a lot to see him be successful.”
The Nittany Lions aim to duplicate this scenario with Ford sitting across from Franklin. Listed No. 2 overall among running backs in 247Sports’ 2019 rankings, Ford mentioned Penn State as a strong contender during his Sunday conversation with Land of 10 at The Opening’s Washington D.C. regional camp.
Ford is friendly with Slade, and they experienced spring game festivities together. He sees a natural fit in the Nittany Lions’ offensive scheme.
“The way they use their backs in the passing game is similar to what we do at my high school, so it’s a comfortable offense,” Ford said.
Along with Penn State, Ford pointed to Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech as programs that established an early rapport with him. The Tar Heels’ “Freak Show” event is on his summer visit list, and Ford may make a foray to various campuses across the Southeast.
Though he doesn’t have any concrete plans in place for a return trip to Happy Valley, the spring game atmosphere left a lasting impression on his view of the university.
“It was amazing, seeing all those fans there just for a spring game,” Ford said. “It shows you all the support they have.”
He told Land of 10 that his goal it to narrow collegiate options down to 5-10 favorites after his junior season. Ford currently claims 25 offers, according to 247Sports.
4-star Texas WR puts Penn State in his top 10
The Nittany Lions continue to show a lot of love toward Lone Star State prospects. Penn State carries 2018 commitments from Texas defensive backs Isaiah Humphries and Trent Gordon, and our notebook Wednesday focused on an offer to top-ranked 2019 Dallas S Brian Williams.
Nittany Lions fans now have another reason to look toward Texas: 4-star WR Arjei Henderson.
The 6-1, 179-pound prospect dropped a top-10 list via Twitter on Wednesday night, and it included Penn State.
Big 10‼️ pic.twitter.com/JpmJRc4gIr
— Hendi™ (@king_hendi) April 27, 2017
Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State also entered the mix. Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M and USC round out this group of favorites.
Henderson, who is listed No. 9 nationally among receivers and No. 34 overall in 2019 247Sports rankings, carries nearly 40 offers midway through high school. The announcement occurred just four days after he de-committed from Oklahoma, though the Sooners are still in contention.
Oklahoma secured his commitment in February before a bevy of new offers altered this recruitment.
Penn State is still searching for its first pledge of the 2019 recruiting cycle. A player of Henderson’s caliber would provide an ideal start toward another elite talent haul.
He recorded 100 receptions as a sophomore at Fort Bend Travis High, according to 247Sports, and turned those catches into 1,401 yards and 18 touchdowns.