POSITION: Offensive Guard
HOMETOWN: Sugar Land, Texas
HIGH SCHOOL: Clements
247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8584
NATIONAL RANKING: 646
POSITION RANK: 29
STATE RANK: 90
OTHER OFFERS: Illinois, Kansas, Rice, Wyoming
Slater is the fifth-highest recruit in Northwestern’s 2017 class, and the only commit at offensive guard. He is actually the highest rated offensive commit in the class as well. He joins center Sam Gerak and tackle Ethan Wiederkehr as one of Northwestern’s three offensive line commits. He boasts an impressive 6-foot-5, 280 pound frame that was an absolute bulldozer in high school.
While Slater did play on both sides of the line in high school, he’s committed to play guard for Northwestern. He’s got some great brute strength, as he was blasting opposing players off the line and down the field, combined with solid agility (his shuttle time is listed at 4.58 seconds). Increased agility will be important given how often Northwestern likes to pull its guards on stretch run plays. He also has experience at tackle as well, which is a plus given the fragility of Northwestern’s offensive line rotations during most seasons.
As with many freshman offensive lineman, the biggest worry will be his strength when faced up against Big Ten competition. Currently Slater is taller than quite a few of Northwestern’s linemen, but lighter than all but one. Of course, he’ll have plenty of time over the summer to get stronger, and get ready for the season.
The offensive line is all but set for next season already. With J.B. Butler and Tommy Doles slotting in as returning starting guards, playing time will be scarce for Slater right away. But as we’ve learned time and time again, the offensive line is susceptible to shifts and injuries, and freshmen have seen emergency playing time before (Brad North in 2014). The most important thing here is that Slater already has the one thing you can’t teach, size, and that may get him on the field sooner rather than later. Still, a redshirt year looks likely.