The high school season is underway for Penn State commits and recruiting targets. Check Land of 10 every Sunday as we spotlight the top performances of potential Nittany Lions.
The 2017 high school football season is now in full bloom, as almost the entire Northeast has joined the rest of America in regular-season action. Penn State prospects — those committed and still undecided — continue to showcase their talent in various roles.
This weekend featured a few particularly notable performances from future Nittany Lions, though our focus shifts toward three who reached the end zone multiple times in big victories. We’ll also spotlight a top target who bounced back from injury to deliver a dominant season-opening performance.
Here is our latest weekly Sunday rundown of players who produced the stats you need to know about.
High School: South Brunswick (N.J.)
Size: 6-foot-4, 213 pounds
247Sports Composite ranking: No. 3 receiver; No. 12 overall
Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Aug. 6, 2016
Justin Shorter is the top-ranked Nittany Lions pledge and enjoyed an immensely successful offseason of showcase events that sent him soaring into 5-star territory. He embraced his first opportunity to validate mounting hype while taking the field Friday night in South Brunswick’s opener.
Shorter brushed off early chants of “overrated” from a host Old Bridge crowd, and proved he is anything but that. He caught touchdown passes of 12 and 52 yards in the first quarter, according to Greg Tufaro of MyCentralJersey.
His athleticism also lends itself to occasional reps at running back, quarterback and safety. Shorter took a pitch out of the backfield in the third quarter and darted 77 yards to the end zone, solidifying a 35-6 win.
He finished the game with 165 total yards and 3 scores. Shorter journeyed to Penn State on Saturday, attending a Nittany Lions game for the second straight week.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) September 9, 2017
RB Ricky Slade
High School: C.D. Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.)
Size: 5-9, 185 pounds
247Sports Composite ranking: No. 2 all-purpose back; No. 27 overall
Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Feb. 3, 2017
Ricky Slade is among the most scintillating offensive talents in prep football, able to change a game at any given moment with his elite speed and rare agility. He showcased these skills during an abbreviated appearance Friday night.
Slade tallied 185 offensive yards and 2 touchdowns in a 41-0 victory over Osbourn, according to InsideNoVa. His performance featured a pair of long-distance scores. He hauled in a 31-yard touchdown reception and raced 96 yards to the end zone before sitting out most of the second half because of his team’s insurmountable lead.
Sustained success has defined Slade’s high school career. He now has rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 of 12 games since 2016. The one game in which he failed to reach 100 rushing yards during this span was a 10-carry, 3-touchdown performance in a 47-0 victory.
Watch his highlights from Friday here:
High School: Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.)
Size: 6-3, 198 pounds
247Sports Composite ranking: No. 38 outside linebacker; No. 571 overall
Recruitment status: Committed to Penn State on Feb. 2, 2017
Charlie Katshir, one of three linebackers pledged to the Nittany Lions in this 2018 recruiting cycle, is Mr. Do-It-All for Cumberland Valley. Along with patrolling the back end of the defense in a hybrid role that often sees him at safety, he also does plenty of damage on offense.
That was the story Friday evening, as Katshir compiled 129 yards and scored twice in a 35-0 win over Central York, according to Jake Adams of The Sentinel. He carried the football 3 times for 22 yards but did his best work though downfield.
Katshir collected 107 yards on 6 catches, including a pair of touchdown receptions.
“Charlie’s a different guy,” Central York coach Josh Oswalt told Adams. “He’s easily the best athlete to come out of Cumberland Valley. I’ll stop there.”
High School: Flint Hill School (Oakton, Va.)
Size: 5-9 1/2, 170 pounds
247Sports Composite ranking: No. 35 running back; No. 435 overall
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted; offers include Boston College, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech
Jordan Houston’s return to full action on the football field proved worth the wait Friday. The speedy running back suffered a fractured left fibula in his sophomore-season opener last September and never fully recovered to make a major impact in the 2016 season.
It was a tough setback for Houston, who rushed for 1,846 yards and 19 touchdowns in 10 games as a freshman. Penn State offered him in July 2016 but no other schools entered the mix while he was sidelined.
“If anyone forgot about me, I plan to remind them as a junior,” Houston told me in May.
He’s off to a strong start following a Friday-night effort that featured 159 yards and 3 touchdowns, Land of 10 learned. That production exceeds what he accomplished in 2015, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise since he’s become quicker and larger since then.
Houston, the son of a Penn State graduate, earned a slew of offers this summer and should continue to gain traction on the recruiting scene. He visited Happy Valley on Saturday, watching the Nittany Lions defeat Pitt.