Last spring and summer, TechSideline.com published dozens of prospect profiles for Class of 2018 recruits that Virginia Tech had offered. The goal was to educate Virginia Tech fans on not just who the Hokies are recruiting, but what fans could expect from those prospects.
We’re going to continue these prospect profiles with the Class of 2019, and there’s only one realistic way to start the series — with running back Devyn Ford.
Ford is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect from North Stafford High School in Stafford, Va. Here is how the major recruiting services rate Ford…
247Sports: Four stars, No. 114 overall, No. 2 in Virginia
Rivals: Five-stars, No. 10 overall, No. 1 in Virginia
ESPN: Four-stars, No. 157 overall, No. 5 in Virginia
Currently, Ford holds 30 reported scholarship offers, with interest coming from across the country. Nearly all of Ford’s offers are from Power 5 programs, and several “blue-blood” programs have him on their radar. Clemson, Penn State and Ohio State are all recruiting Ford heavily.
As a prospect, Ford is one of the highest-rated on Virginia Tech’s board. The Hokies offered Ford as a freshman and have made him a priority since then. When you watch him work out and watch his highlight tape, it’s easy to see why he is so sought after.
Virginia Tech has been searching for an elite running back since David Wilson moved on to the NFL, and Ford could be that guy. At just 185 pounds, Ford displays strength and power on both sides of the ball. He’s a physical player who embraces contact, whether it be on offense or defense. After the handoff, Ford uses his vision to find the crease in the line, and hits the hole quickly. His ability to hit the hole on outside and inside runs, as well as his ability to cut back, makes him a versatile threat as a runner.
Ford displays an uncanny ability to break tackles and avoid defenders. He’s shifty and quick, and has a variety of moves to break down defenders. If he can’t avoid them, Ford doesn’t mind initiating contact and running through them, at worst falling forward for a few extra yards. Once he finds the open field, he has enough speed to safely break a big run and score. Despite not having that “track speed” that people tend to look for, Ford is an incredible athlete and his ability to change direction is second-to-none as a running back.
A prospect like Ford comes with few questions or weaknesses. He doesn’t seem to be responsible for pass protection very often, and that’s something he’ll have to work on in college. He doesn’t seem like an elite receiving threat out of the backfield, but shows the ability to catch the ball as a running back and as a defender. He could very well be an excellent receiver out of the backfield, but it’s just something he doesn’t do a lot of at this point in his career.
The bottom line with Ford is this — he’s about as close to being a “can’t miss” prospect as it gets. He has a good frame and can add a bit more weight, shows a combination of power and athleticism and is a bear to bring down once he gets the ball in his hands. As a junior, Ford carried the ball 246 times for 2,056 yards and scored 32 total touchdowns. He is an elite-level running back and if he were a member of the Class of 2018, he probably would have been ranked as the third best prospect in Virginia by 247Sports and ESPN, behind only Teradja Mitchell and Ricky Slade.
Ford’s recruitment has involved all of the heavy hitters. He released a top-six on Feb. 1, with Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all making the cut. Virginia Tech has recruited against almost all of these schools, and will have a chance to pick up a big victory on the recruiting trail with Ford.
The Hokies are in a good place with Ford. He’s been to campus on numerous occasions already, and was in attendance for a Tech basketball game on Feb. 3. They’ll certainly be able to get him on campus in the future, and the more times, the better for Virginia Tech. The entire coaching staff is likely working on Ford, with Zohn Burden leading the way. Justin Fuente has taken a very personal approach in several of Virginia Tech’s major recruitments, and he’ll do the same here.
Last spring, Ford told TechSideline.com that a decision could come sometime this offseason. If that is indeed the case, Virginia Tech must close the deal and earn Ford’s commitment. If the Hokies are able to sign Ford as a member of their Class of 2019, it will be yet another step in the right direction for Virginia Tech recruiting.