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Penn State Commits Slade, Shorter Shine At Nike’s The Opening

Penn State commits Ricky Slade and Justin Shorter further solidified themselves among the nation’s top 2018 prospects this week at Nike’s The Opening.

The annual recruiting extravaganza in Beaverton, Ore., features individual testing, one-on-one drills, and a 7-on-7 tournament for the skill players. Slade and Shorter consistently rose to the occasion against college football’s next generation of stars.

Slade looks like the best all-purpose back in America this cycle, as the Woodbridge, Va., native often burned a talented group of linebackers with his pass-catching prowess. But it was his washing-machine moves in the cat-and-mouse drill that merited a few wicked backflips.

Shorter, who hails from Monmouth Junction, N.J., is a prime candidate to earn his fifth star when the festivities conclude Monday. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound receiver bullied corners on the outside with a tremendous size-to-speed ratio and proved to be his team’s top red-zone threat in pool play. Slade and Shorter are Mach Speed teammates with former quarterback verbal Justin Fields, who decommitted from the Nittany Lions on June 6.

Hank South of 247Sports ranked Slade as the “Alpha Dog” of the running backs following Saturday’s competition, while Director of Scouting Barton Simmons placed Shorter in elite company thanks to a standout Sunday showing. It’s safe to say both of their recruiting stocks are on the rise, even though they’re already the top two recruits in Penn State’s current class, which ranks No. 5 nationally.

The Nittany Lions also have plenty of uncommitted targets on-hand at Nike’s World Campus in Micah Parsons, Solomon Enis, Jack Lamb, P.J. Mustipher, Rasheed Walker, and Shayne Simon. Parsons, who can play linebacker, defensive end, receiver, and running back, decommitted in late April but is still considering Penn State. Enis, the son of Nittany Lion great Curtis Enis, made headlines this week when he appeared to spill the beans on James Franklin’s rumored contract extension.

Tight end commit Zack Kuntz earned an invite to The Opening but had to turn it down due to his brother Christian’s wedding. Both Christian and fellow brother Brandon played for the Nittany Lions, making it a rather easy decision for the 6-foot-7 Zack to follow in their footsteps.

While Kuntz couldn’t make it to Oregon for the event, Saquon Barkley — a 2014 Opening alum — flew out as one of a handful of current college players to take in the action. He even had the chance to meet star New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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