Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment this afternoon from the most underrated running back in the country when Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Blackman three-star Master Teague III pledged his services to the Buckeyes just two days after he earned an offer from head coach Urban Meyer.
Let's take a look at what Teague — the No. 501 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Teague rushed for 2,031 yards and 24 touchdowns to help the Blaze to the state quarterfinals last season, his first as a starter. He didn't participate in many camps prior to this year, which plays a large role in his current rating.
That said, he's in line for a bump in the next rankings update after posting a 4.31-second 40-yard dash, a 42.5-inch vertical leap during Ohio State's camp on Friday. He also bench pressed 225 pounds with such ease the staff made him stop after only 16 repetitions.
For reference, former Buckeye and second-round pick Curtis Samuel posted a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and only six players there had a vertical leap exceeding 40 inches.
On the field, Teague is a strong, tough and instinctual back who gets stronger as the game goes on.
"He can obviously hit the home run at any moment, but the more times he touches it, you just to feel him start to take the game over," Blackman defensive coordinator and strength coach Kit Hartsfield told Eleven Warriors. "He is at his best running down hill and has a knack for seeing a small opening and bursting through it running though arm tackles and past the third-level defenders. He is a competitor, team first guy and wants to win."
Two areas in which Teague must continue to improve are his blocking technique in passing situations and catching the ball out of the backfield. Hartsfield said he's working on that each day, though.
IN THE CLASS
Teague becomes the 13th member of Ohio State's Supreme '18 recruiting class, joining five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, five-star quarterback Emory Jones, five-star defensive end Brenton Cox, four-star offensive tackle Max Wray, four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield, four-star running backs Jaelen Gill and Brian Snead, four-star linebackers Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell, four-star cornerback Sevyn Banks and four-star safeties Josh Proctor and Jaiden Woodbey.
As mentioned, the Buckeyes already have two running backs in the fold, but it'll certainly be a position of need if starter Mike Weber declares for the NFL Draft after a breakout redshirt sophomore season. That would leave the Buckeyes with only two true running backs on the roster in Antonio Williams and J.K. Dobbins — Demario McCall, meanwhile, will most likely see the majority of his touches at H-Back.
That means Teague's commitment will have little to no effect on Snead or Gill's pledge. Not to mention Gill will play H-Back at the next level anyway. The impact may be felt, however, in Ohio State's pursuit of North Carolina five-star running back Zamir White, who is set to make his college decision later this month. Things have been trending toward Georgia for quite some time thanks to his mom's persistence on playing close by, and accepting Teague's pledge may end all hope of White ending up in Columbus.
Since he arrived at Ohio State ahead of the 2012 season, head coach Urban Meyer has seemingly put a premium on kids who have high character and come from great families.
Teague fits that bill.
"Off the field, his character, leadership and work ethic is unmatched and second to nobody," Hartsfield said. "The standard he sets for the players on our team and his ability to hold them to that standard is remarkable for a higher schooler these days. If anyone thinks they have seen a kid who works harder than anyone else, they probably haven't seen Master Teague work yet."