Photo courtesy of Penn State athletics

In possibly the biggest transfer in Old Dominion history, former five-star running back Ricky Slade will be reuniting with former offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne in Norfolk.

Rahne, who is now the head coach of the Monarchs, pulled in a great recruiting class in 2020. Rahne had already started to build a great one for his 2021 class — his first full class.

Old Dominion added a pair of commitments this past two weeks to run its total to six.

Slade, who played his first two seasons at Penn State, ran for 588 yards and eight scores in his two seasons. His last appearance for Penn State was in the Cotton Bowl. In a victory over Memphis, Slade ran for 58 yards on five carries for the Nittany Lions.

Slade came out of C.D. Hylton in Woodbridge, Va. as a five-star prospect with a 247Sports Composite rating of .9853. Slade was the top all-purpose back in the country, and top prospect in Virginia in his class.

Current Running Backs

Rahne already has a few talented backs at his disposal.

Redshirt sophomore Blake Watson was named to the All-Conference USA Freshman Team as a kick returner. In two seasons at ODU, Watson has played in 11 games, rushing for 116 yards and a score.

Redshirt sophomore LaLa Davis has played in 15 games as a Monarch, gaining 468 yards and eight touchdowns over his two seasons. His 337 yards in 2019 were a career-high. Davis has four touchdowns in each of his two seasons. He’s also caught four passes for one yard.

Keshawn Wicks redshirted as a freshman last year. Wicks rushed for 24 touchdowns as a high school senior.

Incoming Freshman Obie Sanni is the first Monarch to come from Colorado — Rahne’s home state. As a senior, Sanni ran for 29 touchdowns and gained more than 4,000 yards for his high school career with 49 touchdowns.

Junior Matt Geiger saw most of his action in 2018, playing in six games that season with 312 yards and three scores. In 2019, Geiger played in nine games, rushing for 45 yards but also caught his first touchdown pass — a 46-yarder against Virginia.

Impact of Slade

It’s apparent Slade is the favorite to start if given a waiver, presumably alongside quarterback Hayden Wolff, when the Monarchs open their season on Sept. 4 against Wake Forest.

Slade was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia in 2017 — nine days before signing with Penn State. He would be an instant impact player for Rahne and paired with a potentially great quarterback like Wolff, could terrorize Monarch opponents together for the foreseeable future.

Slade can do it all: run up the middle, run out to the edge, and catch the ball out of the backfield. A halfback screen to Slade from Wolff might be a recipe for many, many Monarch touchdowns.

Slade will require a waiver to be eligible and am being told the waiver will be applied for.