Darius Slade Talks Ohio State

February 5, 2014 at 10:38p    by Jeremy Birmingham    

Things don't always happen the way we think they will. In the case of Montclair (N.J.) defensive end Darius Slade, things definitely haven't happened the way he planned them, but he's got no complaints about how it all worked out. He's going to college — for free — and he's going to play for the one coach that he's always wanted to play for; even if it's at a completely different place than he ever imagined. For Slade, the goal has always been simple: become a success, but establish his own path.

He's got a famous cousin, Miami Dolphin defensive tackle Jared Odrick, who attended Penn State. He's got another cousin who currently plays for his home-state university, Rutgers. Slade wanted to do something on his own. Of course, he also wanted to play for Larry Johnson, Sr., but that goal sort of clashed with the first, so he set that to the side and committed to the University of Nebraska in December before a change of heart led him to pledging to Michigan State on January 17th, a day after receiving a scholarship offer from Ohio State. It was a couple days later that the news was official: Larry Johnson, Sr. had taken a new path of his own and left Penn State, the place he'd become a fixture, and joined Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Ohio State.

The first goal for Slade had been reached, the second had not.

"I had always wanted to be coached by Larry Johnson," Slade told Eleven Warriors. "He recruited me when I was at Penn State and I had a very hard time telling him no then. He had recruited me when he was coaching at Penn State and I had known him for a while because he had coached my cousin at Penn State. He'd been a strong family friend for a long time, and I had gotten to know him pretty well. I knew he was a great coach, and a great man."

"When I heard that (Johnson) had taken a job with Ohio State, I knew it had to have happened for a reason," Slade continued. "I mean, he had been at Penn State for 18 years and to leave at that time, I felt like I absolutely had to at least look at Ohio State."

Unfortunately for Slade, the window to look at Ohio State before signing day was closing, and with that knowledge he decided he needed to make a decision. He tried to visit Ohio State last weekend but couldn't get it arranged. Then this past Tuesday evening, the eve of signing day, he called Michigan State's coaches to let them know he was going to need more time.

Slade will bring more speed to Ohio State's pass rush.Slade had 22 sacks as a high school senior.

"I talked to them Tuesday and let them know I didn’t know if I was going to be signing with them or taking a look elsewhere, because I wanted to visit Ohio State before I decided," he said. "I had built a strong relationship with Michigan State's staff, but they weren’t real understanding when I told them I wanted to visit Ohio State, and they told me that if I didn't sign with them that I might not have a scholarship if I waited. They were upset understandably because they wanted me at Michigan State, but they knew it was a serious thing for me and I was not jumping from place to place. I had the chance to be a part of a great opportunity and I needed to take a look."

When the morning rolled around, Slade was pretty sure that he would not be signing with Michigan State, and the Buckeyes were more than happy to receive his signature, despite the fact that Slade has never visited Ohio State, an absolute rarity in recruiting; to sign a letter of intent without visiting the college even once.

"I know it's 'weird,' but I know what I am getting myself into," Slade said of his choice. "(I didn't choose Ohio State) solely because of (Johnson), Ohio State has a great program and they compete for a national title every year. They have a great staff as a whole and they are not too far from home, either. There were a lot of reasons for the decision. They have a lot great players and it’s a great program."

Slade will visit Ohio State officially next weekend and he hopes to get a better look at his future home, not just for himself, but for his family as well. They may know Larry Johnson, but they don't know Ohio State and it's something Slade is looking forward to. 

"I want to go to Ohio State and hang out with the players, get to know the guys I am going to be around the next four-five years," he said of his plans for next weekend. "I want to get to know the coaching staff, tour the facilities and take a look at the academic side of OSU. I want my family to get involved at OSU."

Despite being knew to Ohio State, Slade had started developing a friendship with fellow Buckeye signee a few weeks ago, New Jersey native Noah Brown

"We scrimmaged each other's teams in the early part of the season but we didn't really talk much until Ohio State offically offered me a few weeks ago," Slade said of his future teammate. "He's talked to me about how they are like a family at Ohio State and he was really excited when I told him I was coming. We've gone to each others basketballs games and are building a team bond moving forward."

Brown said he had an inclination about Slade's interest in Ohio State the night before signing day, but he didn't take it seriously after hearing from the defensive end.

"He told me last night he was thinking about coming to Ohio State," Brown shared with 11W. "I didn't believe him though. I am glad he changed his mind."




Whosisbrew's picture

Welcome to Buckeye Nation, Slade.

+4 HS
HighBallAce's picture

That was my thoughts exactly! We are going to have to call him Death Stroke! Can't think of a more appropriate name for him!

+2 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture


I thought the exact same thing. XD

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

+2 HS
bigbadbuck's picture

Welcome to the good guys son!

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

+2 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

This is an awesome story. While every recruit has their own journey, this one is pretty unusual. 
Welcome, Darius!

WC Buckeye's picture

I will be really interested in hearing his perceptions of the school once he actually visits. I can only guess that Johnson must've really built up what great campus facilities, academic programs, and support systems are in place - that must've been more than plenty in influencing someone who seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

USMC11917's picture

Even though he is the knewest commit, I think things will work out great for him!!

+2 HS
avail31678's picture

I new someone would be immature and point that out...

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

You guys seem to have a lot of nowledge

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.



+2 HS
shaggybuckeye's picture

I sea what you did their...

+2 HS
USMC11917's picture

All in good fun! I am not the grammar/spelling police. We can all laugh at our little mistakes in life. 

hansman's picture

No worries, you one my vote.

+1 HS
MichiganBuckeye222's picture

yule learn too spell soon.

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.



+1 HS
BuckeyeTennis91's picture

Sounds like a great kid. A change of heart can be tough, but you can see he definitely wants to be at OSU. Great late snag by the staff. I think he will turn out to be a good player and over perform his star rating (as we've seen can clearly be achieved).


allbucksallthetime's picture

While I am excited about Darius Slade as a prospect, I am even more excited about him being a Buckeye after reading this post.  It is clear to me that Darius is an intelligent young man, is well-spoken, comes from a close-knit family, and values the relationship he has with Coach Johnson.  
The addition of Darius Slade is a great way to complete the Dream '14 class.  Go Bucks! 

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

That's what I was thinking, too - very smart kid. The way he puts sentences together, he could be a writer, if he wanted to be.

Go1Bucks's picture

Sometimes things work out for a reason, maybe he heard that Malik was going to be at MSU, so decided that he could have his own thing, his Larry and a scholly on a NC caliber team with a fanbase second to none. OSU is definitely the winner here.
Welcome D Slade!

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
chili96's picture

Props to Coach Johnson for getting him.

Whoa Nellie's picture

Welcome to the warm embrace of Buckeye Nation, Mr. Slade.  Enjoy your up-coming visit.

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

+1 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

To me, this is like landing a five star, especially considering that Larry Johnson rates Slade as the #1 defensive end he's seen. I'm so pumped.

+2 HS
mr.green's picture

That DV was a finger slip. Agree wholeheartedly with this. 

GoBucksToledo's picture

Covered it for you Mr.Green

d5k's picture

He envisions what he can form Slade into with years of coaching.  He sees explosion and motor and will coach him up on leverage, footwork and technique.

+1 HS
brband64's picture

Have to admit, reading this made me smile:

"He's (Noah Brown) talked to me about how they are like a family at Ohio State and he was really excited when I told him I was coming. We've gone to each others basketballs games and are building a team bond moving forward."

It sounded like a turbulent time for Slade, glad he found a path he really wanted to take and that it led him here.  Will hope for good things for him going forward.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

+1 HS
hhilanders's picture

A number of years ago there was a player who was the last one offered. He turned out to do pretty well and even won the Heisman. Troy Smith was an athlete out of high school but ended up with a great career. Darius will be coming to Columbus excited to be included and with something to prove. He is tall and athletic and once he adds a few pounds look out. Oh yea, he has a really great coach who thinks highly of him as well.
I think he will surprise some people.  
I thought I heard somewhere that his mother lives in Delaware. I didn't know if that was the state or city. Does anyone know?

BuckToAsT's picture

Given that his family is from New Jersey, I'm pretty sure it's the state.

ghalephoto's picture

Trolling the MSU sites its all about trying to figure out how a kid could possibly slam the door on them.  After reading a few articles sounds to me like Mr. Slade showed some extreme respect to MSU and Coach D.  He did everything in a very mature way and in the end figured out what was best for him.  For an 18 year old to do this the way he did, he should be congratulated.  Glad he is a Buckeye!!

+1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Good stuff - good to find out more about him. Not going to surprise me at all if he turns out to be a star...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

216ToThe614's picture

This might be the longest buckshot of all time.
Great read though, welcome, Darius!

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!

+1 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Welcome Mr. Slade. I feel that getting the right coach and in the correct situation is more than half the battle in this life. I truly hope you have made the proper choice. I know it will still take a lot of hard work and dedication that most of us in this fan base can't even imagine, for you and your new team to be champions. But I as a lifelong member of The Buckeye Family welcome you. Good luck, and GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Barnsey69's picture

I like this kid's instincts, and if Slade isn't a football name, I don't know what is...?

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

seafus26's picture

We'll take Mr. Slade and his motor. Sparty can take McDowell and his mother.

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+2 HS
BuckToAsT's picture

MSU fans need to chill out. It's no different than the MSU staff trying to flip JJ the week before signing week.
Oh, wait.  I guess it's a little different--JJ actually took an OV to MSU over the weekend.      Slade did not.  But he didn't have to.  The Closer simply called him home.

+2 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

Slade signed without visiting Ohio State. Imagine how great he and the family are going to feel about his decision when they finally do make the visit. It'll be like "welcome to the Waldorf-Astoria sir, and by the way, we've upgraded you to the penthouse suite during your stay at no additional cost."

+1 HS
BUCKI06's picture

So, I think this pretty much affirms that Larry Johnson Sr was an incredible hire. 

"As long as we're keeping score, we're gonna try to win this thing." - UFM

+3 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Yeah, I'm not sure what impressed me more, Slade's maturity and outlook on a really chaotic few days and weeks or the fact that he basically said, "If Coach Johnson is going to be there, I'm going to be there." This bodes well for the future of Slade, LJ, our recruiting, and Buckeye football.
Great read.

+1 HS
Buckeye06's picture

He seems like a really good kid, and the type of kid MSU usually could take from 3* to all conference in 3-4 years.
With the DL depth, I wonder if he is a redshirt candidate.  He seems to be underdeveloped to play SDE as of now, at 225-235 or so.  I don't want to label anyone, but we ended up redshirting a ton of guys this year, and with all the depth we already have, it's pretty full in the stable right now.  Of course I hope he comes in next year, blows everyone up, and beats his 22.5 sacks record in high school next year...

d5k's picture

I would be surprised if a raw guy like him doesn't redshirt.  It would be difficult for him to come in and beat out Steve Miller and Jalyn Holmes for 3rd string Viper.  If he goes to strong side / 5 technique he would have to gain weight as you mentioned.

BuckeyeNut's picture

Opposing QBs will be 'slayed by Slade'.

+1 HS
BUCKSOMIES's picture

Seems like a great kid. It appears as though the hiring of L J Sr. is already having positive results.

Art Harrell's picture

Welcome to the Buckeye Nation Slade.

+1 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I follow recruiting with open eyes and ears and, every so often, a situation happens that reveals something about a recruit (hello, Robert Foster and Alex Anzalone) or, in this case, a recruiting staff. The last day of recruiting produced news from both Malik McDowell's and Darius Slade's camps about MSU that were not exactly flattering. Terms like "inappropriate" (Dantonio's greeting of McDowell on his OV) and "when the morning rolled around, Slade was pretty sure he would not be signing with Michigan State" make me wonder if MSU is not a little drunk on their own success when it comes to how they talk to recruits. They got one (we think) and lost one, but it seems a little messy.