Ford Will Cruise to Penn State this Summer

Pittsburgh Class of 2017 defensive back lists the Nittany Lions in his top five.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Paris Ford is not sure why he has such a unique first name, only that his mom must have been going through a European phase when he was born.

“My sister is named London,” he said with a smile at a regional version of Nike's Opening here Sunday. “But my older brother is named Darrin, so I'm not sure.”

That is Darrin Walls, who currently plays cornerback for the New York Jets (and played at Notre Dame). The fact that they are half brothers has kind of gone under the radar during the younger sibling's football recruitment, which is a testament to the fact that Ford is making a name for himself.

Only heading into his junior year at Pittsburgh Seton-La Salle, Ford seems to be reeling in a new offer every week. And he has already established a short list of leaders.

“Right now, my top five would probably be Penn State, Pitt, UCLA, Michigan State and West Virginia,” he said.

Leading the recruiting push for Penn State is cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, who hails from the Pittsburgh area and has deep ties with Ford's family.

“I've known Terry since I was about 13 years old,” Ford said. “His family grew up with my family. Small world.”

Ford said that while it feels “like I'm talking to a family member” whenever he reaches out to Smith, he is not playing favorites and intends to “take the process slow.”

PSU defensive coordinator and safeties coach Bob Shoop is also a big part of his recruitment.

“Shoop has 15-plus guys in the (NFL), and that's what I'm trying to accomplish,” Ford said.

As for what he saw out of Shoop's troops last season, Ford said, “I love the physicality of the defense. They're all ball hawks, they all fly to the ball and tackle as a team.”

Ford intends to camp at Penn State (where he made a visit in the spring) and Virginia Tech this summer, but has not yet set the dates.

As for making a college decision, he has only set a very rough timetable.

“Going into my senior year is probably when I'll be committing,” he said.

Until then, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder will be more focused on his frame and his game than his name.

“I think I have to throw on a couple more pounds, become a smarter player, watch film and learn more college playbooks,” Ford said.

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