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Notre Dame Football: Former Penn State running back Devyn Ford transfers to the Fighting Irish

Well, hello

Indiana v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In a transfer portal move that caught a number of us off guard, former Penn State Nittany Lions running back Devyn Ford announced his decision to transfer to Notre Dame Friday evening.

Ford was part of Penn State’s 2019 recruiting class out of Stafford, Virginia, and chose Penn State over a long list of suitors that included the Clemson Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, and more. He was the #5 RB in the nation and a Top 100 overall 4-Star prospect.

Ford’s time at Penn State, however, wasn’t as bright as his prep career.

After a promising start with 12 games of action in 2019, Ford only played in 18 games over the next three seasons. In 2022 as he saw his time on the field dwindle, Ford stepped away from football after the fourth game of the season to focus on academics.

Finally, on April 24 of this year, Ford entered the transfer portal.

There was a little buzz about Notre Dame possibly taking a running back from the portal after the departure of Logan Diggs to the LSU Tigers. Audric Estime is rock solid, but after him there is the inexperienced GiBran Payne, the injured Jadarian Price, and incoming freshman Jeremiyah Love. This move definitely cements the move of Chris Tyree to receiver.

2023 Notre Dame Football Scholarship Chart

Position / Year Freshmen Sophomore Junior Senior 5th/6th Year
Position / Year Freshmen Sophomore Junior Senior 5th/6th Year
Quarterback Kenny Minchey Steve Angeli - - Sam Hartman
Running Back Jeremiyah Love Jadarian Price, Gi'Bran Payne Audric Estime - Devyn Ford
Tight End Cooper Flanagan Eli Raridon, Holden Staes Mitchell Evans, Davis Sherwood Kevin Bauman -
Wide Receiver Braylon James, Rico Flores, Jaden Greathouse, Kaleb Smith Tobias Merriweather Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas Chris Tyree Matt Salerno
Center - Ashton Craig Pat Coogan - Zeke Correll
Guard Sam Pendleton, Joe Otting, Chris Terek Billy Schrauth Rocco Spindler - Andrew Kristofic
Tackle Sullivan Absher, Charles Jagusah Ty Chan, Aamil Wagner Blake Fisher, Joe Alt Michael Carmody, Tosh Baker -
Defensive Tackle Boubacar Traore, Devan Houstan Tyson Ford, Donovan Hinish Gabe Rubio Aidan Keanaaina, Rylie Mills Howard Cross
Defensive End Brenan Vernon, Armel Mukam Joshua Burnham, Aiden Gobaira, Junior Tuihalamaka Jason Onye Jordan Botelho NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Javontae Jean-Baptiste
Linebacker Drayk Bowen, Preston Zinter, Jaiden Ausberry Nolan Ziegler, Jaylen Sneed - - Jack Kiser, Marist Liufau, JD Bertrand
Safety Adon Shuler, Ben Minich - - Xavier Watts, Ramon Henderson D.J. Brown, Thomas Harper, Antonio Carter
Cornerback Micah Bell, Christian Gray Jayden Mickey, Benjamin Morrison Ryan Barnes, Chance Tucker Clarence Lewis Cam Hart
Specialists - Bryce McFerson (P) - - Michael Vinson (LS), Spencer Shrader (K)
Totals 23/85 (23) 43/85 (20) 56/85 (13) 66/85 (10) 83/85 (17)
5th year eligibility moving forward is not represented on this chart due to COVID year. May be subject to change.

From Penn State’s website:


Season: Appeared in four games...Had seven rushes for 37 yards (5.3) with a long rush of 30 yards...Added five receptions for 31 yards (6.2) with a long catch of 12 yards.

at Purdue (9/1): Recorded a key 12-yard reception on fourth down to set up a Penn State scoring drive. Ohio (9/10): Made two grabs for 13 yards. at Auburn (9/17): Had three carries for 37 yards, including a long rush of 30 yards...Added a 6-yard reception. Central Michigan (9/24): Recorded a reception.


Awards: Earned Academic All-Big Ten honors...Named a Pro Football Focus honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree as a kick returner.

Season: Appeared in nine games, making one start...Recorded 14 carries for 61 yards and three receptions for 18 yards...Was a primary kick returner for Penn State, logging nine returns for 191 yards with a long of 36 yards.

at Wisconsin (9/4): Tallied a carry and a 21-yard kick return. Ball State (9/11): Recorded 32 yards on six carries...Added three kick returns for 67 yards including a long return of 31 yards.Auburn (9/18): Had one kick return for 17 yards. Villanova. (9/25): Recorded two carries for four yards...Had two kick returns for 34 yards. Indiana (10/2): Tallied a 12-yard carry...Added a 9-yard reception. at Iowa (10/9): Started and recorded one carry and one reception. at Michigan State (11/27): Tallied four yards on two carries...Posted a season high 119 yards on five kick returns including a career-high 36-yard return. vs. Arkansas (1/1): Recorded a 4-yard carry.


Awards: Earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.

Season: Appeared in six games, including five starts...One of 14 players to make their first career start...Finished with 274 yards (third on the team) on 67 carries (4.1 average) to go along with three touchdowns...Added seven receptions for 24 yards...Returned five kicks for 93 yards.

at Indiana (10/24): Ran for 69 yards on a career-high 20 carries...Scored on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter...Matched a career high with three receptions for 11 yards...Added a 28-yard kick return. Ohio State (10/31): Gained 36 yards on eight carries, including a 23-yard run. Maryland (11/7): Rushed for 36 yards on nine carries...Added a 25-yard kick return. at Nebraska (11/14): Gained 66 yards on 16 carries...Scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter...Added a 5-yard reception...Had two kick returns for 36 yards, including a 20-yard return. Iowa (11/21):Had one reception and three carries. at Rutgers (12/5): Ran for 65 yards on 11 carries...Found the end zone on a 7-yard rush...Had one reception for seven yards.


Season: Appeared in 12 games...One of 29 players to make their collegiate debut...One of 19 true freshmen to play... Ran for 294 yards on 52 carries (5.6 average) with three touchdowns...Became the first PSU freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since Saquon Barkley against Michigan State in 2018...Became the first PSU freshman to rush for 100 yards in a season opener since Curt Warner vs. Rutgers in 1979.

Idaho (8/31): Rushed for 107 yards on six carries...Scored on an 81-yard run in the second quarter...Added three catches for 6 yards. Buffalo (9/7): Had a 1-yard carry. Pittsburgh (9/14): Gained nine yards on five carries...Scored on a 1-yard run...Added a 9-yard grab. at Maryland (9/27): Ran for 43 yards on seven carries...Had a 20-yard rush...Added a 15-yard reception. Purdue (10/5): Rushed for 38 yards on seven carries...Had a 20-yard rush. at Iowa (10/12): Gained 17 yards on four carries. Michigan (10/19): Had a 2-yard carry. at Michigan State (10/26): Rushed for 25 yards on six carries. at Minnesota (11/9): Had three carries for nine yards. Indiana (11/16): Rushed for 38 yards on a career-high eight carries. Rutgers (11/30): Gained three yards on two carries. vs. Memphis (12/28): Scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter...Helped Penn State to tie a Cotton Bowl record with five rushing touchdowns.

One of the things that Marcus Freeman has said he is looking for in a player from the transfer portal is a guy that has multiple years of eligibility. Ford has two years remaining due to COVID 2020 and redshirting in 2022.

Probably the best thing we can say about this move is that Notre Dame definitely has scholarships to use, and Devyn Ford is a really nice addition to the running back room overall. He’ll be in the mix for carries behind Audric Estime, along with the rest of the RB depth chart.