Ricky Slade may be a lot of things. He’s an elite athlete. He’s got a promising football future. He’s got youth. Just don’t call him a procrastinator.
He most definitely is not that. College football programs don’t have room for procrastinators as coaches these days. Early is essential. If you are not offering players early then you are taking yourself out of the running for many top recruits. That understanding led NC State to give Slade (5-10, 170) one of his first scholarship offers. Some players have strong potential. Slade’s may be limitless.
Ohio State has offered too. Closer to home schools Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered.
Slade is not exactly taking his time. Sometimes when those very young players get offered people close to them advise them to slow down and wait until they are older before they start traveling to visit schools. Slade is taking a different approach.
His father is also named Ricky Slade and he is actively helping his son tackle recruiting earlier than almost any other player you will come across.
“We’re going to visit as many schools as possible while he’s so young. He doesn’t have any favorites right now but he’ll eventually narrow it down. We like all the schools that have offered and we’re trying to visit as many as we can so we can learn what we need to.”
That desire to take early visits led Slade and his father to visit NC State for a Junior Day this year. He was probably the youngest player there. After all they are called “Junior Days” for a reason. Most of the players there are high school juniors. Over time that title’s definition has expanded to include sophomores. Occasionally you will find a freshman. Not many.
Slade’s father said it was a normal junior day. He can say that because they have taken so many early visits. They know what to expect. But in some respects it wasn’t normal. Normal implies the same old routine but also unspectacular.
“It was an awesome day actually. They like him a lot from what they say. They’re really interested in him as long as he keeps his grade right and those types of things. As long as he stays out of trouble they like him a lot. I know as far as the offense they talked to Ricky about it a lot when he went into the position meetings and all that stuff. He learned about that in his interactions with the coaches.”
NC State is not as close to home as every school that has offered Slade but they are close enough that it would be convenient if he went to school in Raleigh.
“That’s not bad at all. It’s about three hours. A little over three and a half hours so it’s not bad at all. It was an easy trip.”
The trip was all about NC State too. During this time of year when players are visiting schools in the spring they sometimes use their time off to visit many colleges in the same area. NC State might be close to North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and East Carolina but Slade only visited Raleigh for a recruiting trip. He has been to North Carolina and South Carolina previously.
“Virginia Tech is next on our list. We’re probably going to get up there for one spring practice. Like I said, we’re just visiting whatever schools we can while we can.”
Maryland hosted Slade on a visit last week and the new Big Ten school showed him a good time too.
Slade has played football for most of his whole life and he gained fame last year and national headlines with eight touchdowns as only a high school freshman in a game against Hylton.