Hometown: Woodbridge, VA (C.D. Hylton)
Height/Weight: 5-foot-9, 185 pounds
Recruited by: Charles Huff
Starz 'n Sheetz
Notable offers: Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech
Ricky Slade landed his Penn State as just a freshman in high school. Since then, Slade has been a familiar face around the program, having visited Happy Valley multiple times in the last two years. It was long believed that Slade would wind up at Penn State or Virginia Tech, and that he did, with the Nittany Lions landing his verbal commitment a couple days after a mini-Junior Day.
The new Penn State commit is the No. 24 overall player in 2018, the No. 1 ranked all-purpose back in the country, and the No. 1 player in Virginia. Slade is the second five-star in the Nittany Lions’ 2018 class, the other being thoroughbred Micah Parsons.
This goes without saying, but after losing out on D’Andre Swift in 2017, Slade became a major priority in 2018. Journey Brown could become a very good running back in his own right, but if Penn State wants to get to — or I suppose, stay at — the championship contending level, it needs to keep the Mid-Atlantic high four-star and five-star prospects home. With landing Slade’s verbal, Penn State has done that.
On the field, Slade is as good as they come at running back. He doesn’t have elite 4.35 speed like Journey Brown does, but similar to a player like Miles Sanders, he’s not going to get caught from behind very often. Super quick and explosive in those first ten yards, though. Where Slade truly excels is his vision and his natural playmaking ability. He’s a patient runner, and does a great job of finding the running lane. And once he hits the second-level, you can see just how slippery of a runner he is. Even if he’s not juking (or hurdling) players out of their shoes, he does a great job of being extremely hard to tackle.
Slade will be coming into a pretty good situation in 2018. Saquon Barkley will be gone, so the depth chart opens up a bit more. Obviously, Andre Robinson and Miles Sanders are two talented backs in their own right, but the opportunity to play as a freshman will be there for Slade. As long as he puts on some more bulk, he’ll probably contribute right away for the Nittany Lions.
Welcome to Happy Valley, Ricky!