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Reaction to crucial recruiting weekend in Happy Valley

Penn State welcomed nearly 20 prospects and their family members to campus this weekend for a key recruiting event that precedes college football’s early signing period. The guest list included more than half of the Nittany Lions’ 2019 recruiting class, featuring several high school seniors set to enroll early next month.

“Our class is solid and willing to go up there and do whatever it takes,” Devyn Ford, a top-10 running back recruit pledged to PSU since May, said Friday.

These future teammates had an opportunity to shift into a recruiter role, as a collection of uncommitted Penn State targets also spent multiple days in town. The Nittany Lions carry 16 total pledges in the class, which lost receiver Emery Simmons to a North Carolina commitment flip on Saturday.

The early signing period starts Dec. 19, so this is unquestionably crunch time in a 2019 recruiting cycle that carries plenty of promise for PSU.

“I think everybody should know that we are building something special,” tight end commit Brenton Strange said Friday when asked why he was making the trip despite already using an official visit to Penn State in September. Strange and Ford traveled nearly 300 miles for unofficial visits, attempting to help lead a late charge with top targets and establish enhanced bonds with Nittany Lions classmates.

“We want the uncommitted kids to know the type of bond we have and the family atmosphere we create when everyone’s together,” said five-star linebacker pledge Brandon Smith, another unofficial visitor who invested a round-trip car ride with family that required more than eight hours on the road.

Efforts like these are worth it, according to Ford, Smith and Strange, because it facilitates increased camaraderie among the incoming college freshmen and enables them to provide clarity for peers who are strongly considering Penn State alongside a select few other Power Five options.

Throughout Sunday, our Lions247 staff and 247Sports recruiting analysts Brian Dohn and Steve Wiltfong will collect feedback from those who were in Happy Valley this weekend. Follow along here for the latest updates!

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