Ricky Slade, a former five-star recruit, officially entered the transfer portal on Wednesday with the intention to leave Penn State football.
The 2019 football season was supposed to bring a great group of running backs onto the field for Penn State, led by junior Ricky Slade. The former happened, but the latter did not.
Slade quickly lost the majority of touches early in the season to young guns Journey Brown and Noah Cain. He finished the season with only 47 touches for 214 yards and his carries ranked sixth-most on the team. Moreover, he was only fifth on the team in rushing yards as he ranked behind Brown, Cain, Devyn Ford, and quarterback Sean Clifford.
Astonishingly, backup quarterback Will Levis only had one fewer rushing yard on the season, while only appearing in seven games.
Adding insult to injury, Penn State has two four-star running backs coming to State College next season, so Slade might have seen his role in the backfield diminish completely.
Ironically, just a week before the Cotton Bowl Slade had strong words about his intention to remain with the Penn State football program. He had this to say:
I think you guys are the only ones talking about it. I’m not looking to go anywhere, Devyn isn’t looking to go anywhere, all of the other running backs aren’t looking to go anywhere. We’re going to bring those young guys up to speed and continue to do what we do. … We’re in this thing together until the end. … For me, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I love Penn State. I love the school. I love the football. I want a degree from here. I’m enjoying my time here and they’re enjoying their time here.
It’s important to remember that entering the transfer portal doesn’t necessarily mean Slade is gone. He can always choose to remove his name from the portal and remain at Penn State. That being said, given the crowded backfield at Penn State, I would be shocked to see Slade return to Happy Valley.
If Slade does choose to finish his collegiate career elsewhere, he would have finished his Penn State career with 471 yards and eight touchdowns on 92 carries.