The high school season is underway for Penn State commits and recruiting targets. Check Land of 10 every Sunday as we spotlight the top performances of potential Nittany Lions.
Whether you caught a glimpse on television or drove by a local field, the return of high school football was difficult to ignore this weekend across America.
Penn State is now less than one week away from opening its 2017 season, but our attention shifts toward the future of Nittany Lions football with the first of a season-long Sunday series exploring top performances from premier prospects.
We’ll place three players — two Penn State pledges and a prized 2019 passer — in the spotlight to start. Here is a rundown of why each warrants a closer look this weekend.
RB Ricky Slade
High School: C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.)
Size: 5-foot-9, 185 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 all-purpose back; No. 27 overall
Recruitment Status: Committed to Penn State on Feb. 3, 2017
Ricky Slade rushed for nearly 200 yards in just three quarters of action Friday night. He started his senior season in style, gaining 189 yards on the ground, according to Inside NOVA.
Slade did the damage on 17 carries, scoring three touchdowns during a 35-14 victory at Robinson (Fairfax, Va.) High School. A pair of scores occurred near the goal line, while he added a 57-yard sprint that again showcased his scintillating long-distance rushing ability.
Along with speed, Slade provided a glimpse at his power in the run shown below.
This latest performance is on par with what we’ve come to expect from Slade, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in 10 of 11 games since the start of his junior season, per MaxPreps. The one contest in which he didn’t surpass 100 rushing yards featured 3 touchdowns on just 10 carries in a 47-0 win.
High School: Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.)
Size: 6-foot-5, 200 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 6 pro-style quarterback; No. 254 overall
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted; offers include Alabama, Louisville, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee
I was wowed by Garrett Shrader during a July 16 camp in Happy Valley, where he drew constant attention from Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. Already possessing elite size midway through his prep career, the North Carolina standout is also very athletic, an aspect of his skill set that seemingly remains a bit under the radar.
Shrader displayed those skills beyond the pocket Friday night, rushing for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns on 15 carries, according to Langston Wertz Jr. of the Charlotte Observer. He matched that production as a passer, completing 25 of 35 throws for 288 yards and 3 scores. For good measure, he added a 30-yard reception.
More impressive than the statistics — 499 total yards and 7 touchdowns — is how Shrader delivered when it mattered most. He completed a 13-yard pass to teammate Ricky Kofoed, who made a one-handed snag, on fourth down with 22 seconds remaining. It made the difference in a 54-51 win at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High.
Check out the game-winning strike below.
What a grab for Charlotte Christian to take the lead pic.twitter.com/aGd40yaR0p
— Joe L. Hughes II (@JoeLHughesII) August 25, 2017
High School: Centennial (Ankeny, Iowa)
Size: 6-foor-2, 195 pounds
247Sports Composite Ranking: No. 2 kicker; No. 1,421 overall
Recruitment Status: Committed to Penn State on July 16, 2017
While Jake Pinegar’s commitment may have been overshadowed during a Lasch Bash weekend in State College that featured five pledges, it could prove pivotal for Penn State in big moments. Consistency at the position isn’t found throughout college football, so an elite leg can provide an edge when you need three points to put a game away or keep hope alive.
Pinegar, who also shines at defensive back for Centennial, served evidence of why he’s a high-level scholarship kicker Friday night. He drilled a pair of deep-range field goals, connecting from 48 and 50 yards.
— Dan Holm (@danmholm) August 26, 2017
— Dan Holm (@danmholm) August 26, 2017
His 48-yard field goal gave Centennial a late lead, though the team ultimately allowed a touchdown in the final minute and fell to Johnston (Iowa) High, 13-8.
These kicks are just a sample size of what Nittany Lions fans may be able to expect in the future. Pinegar told John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times he “can back it up to 65 or 70 yards.”
The post Penn State Recruiting: QB target Garrett Shrader totals 7 TDs, RB commit Ricky Slade runs for 189 yards appeared first on Land of 10.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.