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Former Penn State football standout commits to Notre Dame

Ford becomes the latest Nittany Lion from across several sports that Penn State has lost to the Irish this offseason.



Penn State Football, Devyn Ford, Notre Dame
Penn State's Devyn Ford (28) rushes the ball into the end zone Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Penn State football running back room has been in flux over the last year. In less than 12 months, the running backs on the Nittany Lions’ roster have almost completely turned over. But as Penn State fans look forward to the leaps that rising sophomores Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen could make in 2023, several former Nittany Lion running backs are finding their new homes. One of these former tailbacks, Devyn Ford, recently announced that he is transferring to Notre Dame.

Penn State running back room changes hands

Penn State’s running backs have been getting a lot of attention recently. The emergence of Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen as freshmen last year took the team from 7-6 to 11-2 and a Rose Bowl victory. Penn State added to its talented running back room when they got Trey Potts from Minnesota via the transfer portal this winter.

But there must be out with the old when there is in with the new. Penn State lost Caziah Holmes, who is originally from Florida, to Florida State before last season. Noah Cain also went back to his home state after the 2021 season. Cain played for his hometown LSU Tigers and scored 10 touchdowns last season. After the 2022 season, Penn State running back Keyvone Lee transferred to Mississippi State. Lee was Penn State’s workhorse back during the 2021 season. Lee also had one of the biggest plays of Penn State’s Rose Bowl campaign season, catching a last-minute touchdown pass from Sean Clifford to beat Purdue. 

During the middle of last season, Devyn Ford, another veteran Penn State running back, left the team and later entered the transfer portal. After remaining in the portal throughout spring, Ford recently announced where he’ll be playing football this fall. 

Devyn Ford transfers to Notre Dame

On Friday, Devyn Ford announced that he is transferring to Notre Dame. Ford was rated as a four-star by 247Sports in 2019 and ranked as the country’s fifth-best running back. He was joined by Noah Cain, another four-star in 2019, and was supposed to be a two-headed snake in the backfield. Although both had some success in Happy Valley, neither experienced the production that I think many fans hoped for on signing day.

Ford had 769 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in his four years at Penn State. By far, Ford’s most successful years were 2019 and 2020. The Stafford, Virginia native had 324 and 298 all-purpose yards in 2019 and 2020, respectively. But Ford only played in 12 games over the past two seasons. As Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen surged, Ford only appeared in four games last season. Ford was primarily used in pass protection and only recorded 68 total yards.

Recently when Penn State fans talk about a player transferring to Notre Dame, you’d likely assume they’re talking about basketball. Kebba Njie, Penn State basketball’s second-highest-rated recruit ever, transferred to Notre Dame to follow former Nittany Lions coach Micah Shrewsberry. All of Penn State basketball’s commitments in the 2023 class also followed Shrewsberry to South Bend. But now with Ford’s decision, a Penn State football player will be suiting up for the Fighting Irish next season as well.

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