Penn State running back Ricky Slade has entered the transfer portal, according to Matt Zenitz of AL.com and other media reports. The news likely doesn’t come as a major surprise for Penn State fans, as Slade did not receive the amount of playing time expected heading into the 2019 season.
Slade was viewed as the likely starter to take over in 2019 following the early departure of Miles Sanders. However, Slade only saw a minuscule increase in carries as a true sophomore thanks to the emergence of Journey Brown, as well as freshmen Noah Cain and Devyn Ford, who both played prominently in the Nittany Lions backfield rotation.
Slade entered Penn State as a five-star prospect, ranked as the top overall running back and top player coming out of Virginia. He played immediately as a true freshman, gaining 39 yards on six carries with a touchdown in week one against Appalachian State. As a primary backup to Sanders, Slade finished with 257 rushing yards and six touchdowns in 2019. He also had a catch for 12 yards.
Slade only received two additional carries as a sophomore, finishing with 214 rushing yards on 47 attempts and two scores. He did play more prominently in the passing attack, contributing 12 receptions for 105 yards. However, Slade would often go long stretches between touches as the staff opted to rotate between four running backs.
Penn State is in excellent shape at the running back position despite Slade’s departure. Brown returns after establishing himself as the primary back late in the season, going off for 593 yards and nine touchdowns in the final five games. Cain and Ford also return after performing well as true freshmen. The Nittany Lions also welcome two four-star running backs from Florida in 2020 in Caziah Holmes and Keyvone Lee.
We wish Ricky all the best for whatever is next, and thank him for the memories during the past two seasons.