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Meet The 2018 Class: Four-Star RB Ricky Slade

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Taking a prospect-by-prospect look at Penn State’s elite 2018 recruiting class.

Ricky Slade

Landing the top ranked prospect from Virginia for the first since Christian Hackenberg in 2013, Ricky Slade chose the Nittany Lions over the in-state Virginia Tech Hokies. Slade joins a talented running back group at Penn State, but one that will be tasked with replacing a generational talent in Saquon Barkley.


Position Hometown High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank
Position Hometown High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank
Running Back Woodbridge, VA C.D. Hylton 5-foot-9, 185 pounds Four-star (0.9830)


Scouting Report

Other than his size, Slade is a complete running back. If he was 5-foot-11, Slade would be a consensus five-star prospect, and someone who would be pushing for a top 10 ranking overall. But despite his lack of size, there are few players in the country who are as electric with the ball in their hand as Slade is.

Slade has great speed, running a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, but he shows in his film that his skill set goes beyond being able to run past people. Slade is a patient runner that displays incredible vision, allowing his blockers to make life easier for him. He hits the hole with a purpose, and once he breaks into the second level, is extremely tough to tackle because of his ability to make people miss and change direction without losing speed.

Despite his size, Slade is a tough runner who isn’t afraid to put his head down and fight for extra yardage. He already has a strong lower base and runs with excellent balance, making it difficult for defenders to take him down unless they wrap up.

Slade also shows the versatility as a pass catcher, whether it’s out of the backfield or in the slot. With the way Penn State’s offense utilized Saquon Barkley this past season, you can be sure they’ll want to do similar things with Slade — perhaps, even letting him throw a pass or two.

Just a little 40-yard throw off his back foot — nonchalant, no big deal.


Along with Micah Parsons and Justin Shorter, Slade is essentially a lock to play right away. He probably won’t be the starter with Miles Sanders returning, but I’d expect Penn State to rotate in running backs much more frequently than they did when Saquon Barkley was in the backfield. Even if it’s just a couple touches a game or as a third down back, Slade is too talented to keep off the field in 2018.