Print and Go Back ESPN.com: On The Trail: East Region [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Commits make an impression on DE Slade

By Jared Shanker

The recruitment of Darius Slade (Montclair, N.J./Montclair) could come down to the little things.

Slade, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound defensive end, has a top five of Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia. And three of the schools -- well, their 2014 commitments -- are doing a good job with the small things in his recruitment.

“Little stuff like commits hitting me up, saying they’d love to have me, that’s the little stuff that excites me about a certain school,” Slade said. “Coaches can take a notice, but when the players already start taking notice and initiative, that heightens my spirits a lot. Temple has done that, Michigan State has done that, and Rutgers has done that.”

Initially, Slade was unsure whether Michigan State would be a factor in his recruitment because East Lansing, Mich., is at least 10 hours from his north New Jersey home. Slade was under the impression he could not take his official visits until at least January, but when he learned he can begin taking those in September, it fit his timeline as to when he hopes to make a decision.

Until Slade visits MSU, he will continue to talk with defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and defensive line coach Ron Burton. He talks with Michigan State at least once a week. Relationships will play a major factor in Slade’s decision, and he wants to make sure he knows the coaching staff inside and out.

“Michigan State has been using as a recruiting tool as having one of the top defenses in the last few years, and what recruit wouldn’t want to contribute to that?” Slade said. “Some of the 2014 commits, I talk to on a regular basis. When committing to a school, you want to look to where you fit at and fitting in starts with what type of people are there. It’s nice to know the future Spartans are starting a team bond and a brotherhood.”

Michigan State and Rutgers are two schools Slade said have treated him the best through the first few months of the recruiting process. Less than an hour from Rutgers’ campus, Slade is more than familiar with the university. He jokes he knows it so well that he would able to direct a campus tour or give directions to a wandering student or recruit.

“Rutgers being in my state and no less than 45 minutes, it’s easy to get up there” Slade said. “I have a cousin that goes there, [redshirt freshman] Julian Pinnix-Odrick. It’s easy to get out there. I’ve been to Rutgers numerous times.”

A sleeper in Slade’s recruitment is Temple, which is quietly putting together a very good class. The Owls already landed a commitment from Anthony Davis, another prospect with offers from major BCS programs.

A North Philadelphia native, the same area Temple resides, Slade has been around the university much of his life. He moved out of the city when he was 11 but remembers growing up in the city and near Temple.

“I’ve been around Temple, remember going down Broad Street,” Slade said. “Austin Stevens and I went on a visit [last week]. We had a chance to talk to the coaches and see some of alumni down at Temple. We got some great guys and family down there. … I have a serious bond with Temple.”

Pittsburgh and West Virginia, each more than six hours away, are in line for official visits, Slade said.

“I’m trying to plan on taking these visits. And when I do I’ll stay for a couple of days, so I can fill up on how the school is and ask a lot of questions," he said.