Film Study: Darius Slade

Michigan State picked up a defensive end commitment from one of its top targets Friday. SpartanDigest breaks down what the latest MSU commit brings to the table.

Michigan State hit on another top target for its 2014 class on Friday.

Montclair (N.J.) defensive end Darius Slade, who decommitted from Nebraska on Thursday, made his commitment to the Spartans.

Spartan Digest takes a look at what the 20th member of the class brings to East Lansing:

The good: The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end has the frame and build to be a force at the college level. That's the first thing that jumps out about Slade is the size he brings.

His first step is incredibly quick and he uses that to run right past offensive linemen. It allows him to be strong in the run game and in pursuit of the ball carrier. His size and length makes it difficult for anyone to escape him once he closes and he tackles well. He also does a decent job dropping into pass coverage.

The bad: Slade gets upright pretty quickly, almost off the first step. If his pad level gets that high at the college level, he will struggle to get leverage against big offensive tackles. More often than not, Slade also is strictly bull rushing or speed rushing – although in one highlight he shows a wicked swim move. He will need to develop better technique and stronger moves in order to be the force he is capable of being at Michigan State.

Scout.com's East Coast recruiting analyst Brian Dohn had this to say about Slade:

Slade dominated against lesser competition, and was inconsistent against better competition in playing for the top public school team in the state. As he gets more comfortable in his role and gets his technique fine-tuned, he has a chance to become a very good player in the Big Ten.

He will need to learn to play more physically, but his athleticism and his build add versatility. His quick first step, his length and is ability to drop into coverage make him the type of defensive end who could also stand up and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

The intrigue with Slade is the untapped potential


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