All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. This edition will look at junior running back Devyn Ford.
Weight: 191 pounds
Hometown: Stafford, Virginia
Before Penn State: Ford was a team captain in three of his four years at North Stafford High School, where he helped his squad to 10-win seasons in his freshman and senior years.
Ford rushed for 1,865 yards and 24 touchdowns as a freshman, adding 424 receiving yards and three scores, and broke 2,000 yards on the ground as a junior, adding 32 touchdowns.
He made all-district and all-state three times and earned four-star status from 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals.
All three sites had him as a top-five recruit in Virginia and a top ten from his class. 247 had him as the No. 5 running back and Rivals had him as the No. 1 overall back and No. 2 recruit in Virginia.
Ford committed to Penn State in May of 2018.
Ford broke 100 yards in his first game, going for 107 on six carriers against Idaho in the season opener, a performance highlighted by an 81-yard touchdown run. He became the first Penn State true freshman to rush for 100 yards in a season opener since Curt Warner did so in 1979 and the first true freshman to do it in any circumstance since Saquon Barkley did it in 2015.
Ford finished the season with 294 yards on 52 carries— good for a 5.6 yards per carry average— with three touchdowns, the last of which coming in Penn State’s Cotton Bowl win over Memphis.
2020: After Journey Brown medically retired from football and Noah Cain suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, Ford became Penn State’s starting running back, starting five of the six games he played.
He finished the year with slightly worse numbers from 2019, gaining 274 yards on 67 rushes for a 4.1 yards per carry average and again scored three touchdowns.
2021: Ford played in nine of Penn State’s 13 games and started at Iowa.
He didn’t get as much playing time with Noah Cain back in the fold, John Lovett transferred in from Baylor and sophomore Keyvone Lee, an established part of the backfield. Ford finished the year with 61 yards on 14 carries and also served as the team’s primary kickoff returner, gaining 191 yards on nine returns and being named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention as a return man by Pro Football Focus.
Caziah Holmes recently left Penn State’s program, presumably at least partially due to being in a crowded backfield.
Although Ford probably won’t leave this season, he’ll likely struggle to get playing time barring injuries to runners further along on the depth chart.
A quote about Ford:
“I still believe in his potential,” Penn State running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider said in the spring of 2021. “It’s time for him to take the next step… You can see the maturity taking over in him.”
Ford didn’t take that “next step” in 2021, but 2022 offers him another chance.