Rising high school seniors and Penn State commits Justin Shorter and Ricky Slade gave fans a pretty good glimpse of the future over the weekend at The Opening and showed them that this team’s explosive offense that accumulated 6,056 yards last season isn’t slowing down any time soon. The receiver and running back duo helped lead their team Mach Speed to an undefeated record and first place finish in the 7-on-7 tournament at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, OR.
Their performances didn’t just impress fans. It earned a nod of approval from Saquon Barkley.
— Saquon Barkley (@saquonb21) July 4, 2017
After Mach Speed won the title, Barkley congratulated the next generation of Penn State stars (one of which being his potential heir apparent) on Twitter, noting that “the future is bright for these two.” Barkley was at The Opening as a coaching counselor with Mach Speed, which he represented in his highly publicized Instagram post with Odell Beckham Jr.
A post shared by Saquon Barkley (@sb_xxvi) on
Barkley knows a thing or two about rising to the occasion in Beaverton Three years ago, as the 65th ranked running back and just three months removed from flipping his commitment from Rutgers, Barkley burst onto the scene at The Opening, helping his team (which included future teammate Juwan Johnson) to the finals.
Barkley will most likely never play with Shorter and Slade as he is expected to turn pro after this season. If for some wildly unanticipated reason he does return, Barkley could serve as a great mentor to Slade, the nation’s top all-purpose back.
— Daniel Gallen (@danieljtgallen) July 2, 2017
Slade went viral on Saturday night with a vicious juke and celebratory backflip in a 1-on-1 drill at The Opening’s combine event. Fresh off running a 4.3 40 yard-dash on Friday, Shorter pieced together a dominant performance throughout 7-on-7 play, keying Mach Speed to the title as the favorite target of former Penn State commit and Tournament MVP Justin Fields, who Barkley excluded from his tweet.
7-on-7 Playoffs | Semi-Final #1
Players of the Game:
QB Justin Fields – 3 Pass TD
WR Justin Shorter – 2 Rec TD pic.twitter.com/GpF1d9TSr3
— The Opening (@TheOpening) July 3, 2017
Although any hopes for Fields to re-commit appear to be a lost cause for Penn State, fans can only hope that his chemistry with Shorter, the potential that Shorter and Slade demonstrated, and any direct appeals from Barkley could swing the nation’s No. 5 overall recruit back to Happy Valley.