CLIFTON, Va. --- Freshman phenom Ricky Slade attended North Carolina’s 2014 regular season finale. Although the game was lopsided, the trip was rewarding for the 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back from Woodbridge (Va.) Hylton.
“They took me into Coach Fedora’s office,” Slade said. “[Fedora and I] had a talk about schools and how my high school [season] was going so far. He gave me an offer. It was very exciting. It’s a very big offer for me, because I’ve always watched UNC growing up.”
Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Penn State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech highlight his list of offers.
In addition to UNC, Slade has visited Penn State, NC State, Ohio State, and South Carolina.
Since he’s a member of the 2018 class, Slade’s high school coaches have done most of the communicating with college coaching staffs, including UNC. When Slade has spoken with the Tar Heels it’s usually with Fedora or running back coach Larry Porter.
UNC, Penn State, and South Carolina are three schools that have emerged as initial favorites for Slade.
“They show a lot of love,” Slade said.
“They use their running backs very differently – they use them in slots and stuff like that. I like being spread out in different formations. That really stood out to me.
“Their running back coaches are fun and very energetic. They’re very good about what they do and they take their job seriously.”
With regards to UNC’s utilization of its running back: “I got to see how they used T.J. [Logan],” Slade said. “He’s very similar to me and I liked the way they used him.”
Slade burst onto the scene last fall with 1,309 yards and 18 touchdowns on 147 rushes (nearly nine yards an attempt). He also caught ten passes for 179 yards and two scores, and returned six kickoffs for 333 yards and a touchdown.
Slade’s former teammate and close friend Matthew Burrell signed with Ohio State last February. Thus, it’s surprising to see the reigning national champions omitted from Slade’s early top three.
“I haven’t been up to Ohio State in a [long time],” Slade said. “I went up there last summer. I haven’t been up there this year.”
Slade plans to visit Burrell once he arrives on campus this summer. He’s also eying summer trips to UNC and Virginia Tech.
During his return to Chapel Hill, Slade hopes to expand on his UNC knowledge base.
“I do know that they’re in the ACC,” Slade said. “I know that they didn’t start very many seniors – they’re young – so they’re a young team. They did pretty good last year, but they’re going to do better because they’re so young.”
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