Michigan State’s level one recruiting strategy for defensive tackles continued to solidify on Wednesday when the Spartans offered a scholarship to Jacob Slade, of Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy High School.
Slade camped at Michigan State on Saturday, and received word of the offer on Wednesday afternoon.
Slade’s offer came two days after Michigan State offered Bolingbrook (Ill.) defensive tackle Dashaun Mallory.
Michigan State has not offered a scholarship to any in-state defensive tackles in this class. No defensive tackles are ranked in the Rivals.com Top 25 in the state of Michigan.
Only three defensive tackles are listed in the Rivals.com Top 50 in Ohio. Michigan State offered one of them, the uncommitted Aeneas Hawkins of Cincinnati Moeller.
Michigan State took a long look at sleeper Elijah Ratliff of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Ratliff was impressive at MSU’s Big Man Camp last week and was told he could receive a Spartan scholarship offer this week, depending on what took place at MSU’s Elite camp on Saturday.
Michigan State has offered three Illinois defensive tackles, in Mallory (ranked No. 9 in Illinois), Oswego High’s Noah Shannon (No. 8) and Chicago Marist’s Elijah Teague (No. 7).
Teague is committed to Minnesota.
Shannon committed to Minnesota in early May, but then de-committed in late May. He has since visited Iowa, and attended a Penn State satellite camp.
Shannon, Teague and Mallory are the only defensive tackles ranked in the Top 30 in Illinois by Rivals.com.
Defensive tackle remains one of the hardest positions to recruit. Quality prospects at that position are difficult to find, as shown by MSU’s stinginess in offering Midwestern d-tackles.
Michigan State determined that Slade projects as an interior d-linemen despite starring as a d-end in high school. The Spartan staff deliberated on the Slade offer this week while watching a few more candidates at Michigan State camps on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then opted to float the offer to Slade. Ratliff committed to Marshall a few hours later.
Michigan State coaches, led by area recruiter Mike Tressel, had remained in contact with Slade throughout the spring. Slade also camped at Michigan State last year.
Slade is a sleeper in the eyes of recruiting analysts, but Slade impressed SpartanMag.com at the Cincinnati UnderArmour Camp with his quickness, agility, tenacity and whatever it is that he has that enables him to defeat blocks - to the point that I cut into a line during the camp and asked Slade for his name and where he was from. I tabbed him as a potential “summer riser” in my camp notes column.
Two months later, Michigan State offered a scholarship.
Slade (6-3 and a half, 272) has nine offers, with Michigan State being the first Power Five conference to offer.
Slide visited Michigan State twice in the spring, along with Penn State, Purdue, Indiana, Kentucky, Northwestern, Cincinnati and MAC schools.
“I received the offer over the phone with Coach Tressel after I talked with Coach Dantonio over the phone,” Slade said. “The coaches said that they loved my hard work and coach-ability.”
That’s not a surprise. Slade, a crew-cutted, “yes-sir” type of guy, was a captain last year for Olentangy, becoming the first underclassman to ever hold that rank for venerable head coach Mark Solis, who has more than 100 wins and several playoff berths at Olentangy, Lorain, Elyria, Twinsburg and Ashland Crestview.
“At the camp, I attempted to show all-out effort every drill and I think that's what they appreciated the most,” Slade said. “After the camp, the coaches made it clear that they were very pleased with my performance which made me more optimistic (that I might receive an) offer.
“I was extremely excited to receive an offer from MSU,” Slade added. “Immediately after I received an offer I called my Mom. She was extremely happy and wanted me to go into every detail about the conversation. I was at home and I couldn't get a smile off my face, as I was anticipating her reaction.”
Slade has a quick, slick upper body for a big guy, to with good foot speed. He runs his feet through and around contact. He flat-out makes it difficult for o-linemen to keep him blocked.
“his I would definitely say that my quickness outranks my speed,” he said. “As far as my film, the coaches said they loved my aggression and toughness. I'm being recruited as a defensive tackle and this fall I think I will drastically improve on my vision in the backfield and be dominant on pass rushing.”
As for his latest impressions of Michigan State, Slade said: “I loved the facilities and campus but most importantly the coaches and the family-oriented culture that I saw.”
Slade plans to follow-through with camp visit to Toledo on Friday and possibly Purdue on July 19.
“I would like to make a decision as far as committing before my high school two-a-days, which are in late July,” he said.
Slade’s twin brother, Zachary Slade (6-4, 245) has offers from Ball State and Toledo. It’s reasonable to expect Michigan State to pursue Zachary Slade as a walk-on, and have a chance to land him. He’s not far behind his brother as a prospect, and might have just as much upside.
Michigan State will continue to scout d-tackles in the Spartans’ level one recruiting area - the Great Lakes Region - and also expand nationally. Further from home, Michigan State has extended scholarship offers to uncommitted defensive tackles from Florida (3), Maryland (2), West Virginia, Missouri and Utah, with more sure to come.
Below is video I shot of the Slade twins at the Cincinnati UnderAmour Camp:
More video from the Cincinnati UnderArmour Camp:
— Jacob (@jacobslade_) April 29, 2017
The Slade twins during a visit to Penn State (I think Jacob is on the left):