Miles Sanders kept the Penn State football run game humming along after Saquon Barkley. Should he leave for the NFL, Ricky Slade can step in.
Over the last four years, Penn State football has had a running back rush for 1,000 or more yards with Saquon Barkley recording three of those seasons. After his departure, the highly recruited Miles Sanders picked up where he left off, rushing for more than 1,200 yards. He may be headed for the NFL after showing what he can do as a full-time starter. With multiple backs wanting to save their carry count for the pros, it’s a possibility.
There’s no reason to fear though, Ricky Slade has shown flashes of brilliance in his true freshman. The five-star recruit adds to an ever-growing list of big names in the Nittany Lions’ backfield. His carries have been extremely volatile throughout the season, but he’s produced when he has.
In his five games where he’s received four or more carries, Slade has rushed 36 times for 211 yards and six touchdowns. Those carries didn’t come in garbage time either, he used his impressive speed and small-sized power to score in the overtime win against Appalachian State and against Maryland.
At 5-foot-9, 198 pounds, he’s going to be his own breed of running back – bringing the spark plug blend of power and speed to Penn State. Where Sanders brought more power and shiftiness to the offense, he’ll have game-breaking speed.
His carries diminished in the middle of the season, but it’s not for poor play. Sanders just happen to breakout at such a high level that he began receiving the bulk of the carries. It’s in the same situation when Barkley was the lead back. Sanders barely got to see the field, and everyone knew he could play.
Slade figures to be the next great back in a long line of successful PSU backs and looks to keep the 1,000-yards streak alive in 2019.