It's that time again.
The basketball team is well exceeding pre-season expectations and the wrestling team is a credible threat for a national championship, but it's football's off-season. It's time to get to know the incoming class of freshmen in the form of the 2018 Better Know a Buckeye series.
- Size: 5-11/200
- Position: RB
- Hometown: Seffner, FL
- School: Armwood
- 247 Composite: ★★★★
- National Ranking: 80
- Position Ranking: 3 (RB)
- State Ranking: 17 (FL)
- Polynesian Bowl
- Under Armour All-American
We'll start with Brian Snead, a running back from Seffner, Florida, who etched his name as the first pledge to what is, on paper, Urban Meyer's second best recruiting class since he's been in Columbus. Snead entered his name into Ohio State's recruiting class early, committing to the Buckeyes during Friday Night Lights in 2016. There was healthy skepticism that a four-star top ten running back prospect from Florida, with a Florida offer, would stay in Ohio State's recruiting class. That's ultimately what happened and Snead's recruitment stands out for how uneventful it was.
I retell this story below, discussing his recruitment and the reasons for his commitment. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for an all-around solid running back prospect. I conclude with a projection that Snead is a likely redshirt candidate in 2018 before closing with some highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.
Snead comes from Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida, a program that has produced its fair share of football talent over the years. Matt Jones (Florida), Leon McQuay (USC), and Eric Striker (Oklahoma) stand out in this list of its most recent alumni. Put in other words, the best of Armwood is going to play in a big-time program of his choosing.
Brian Snead looked that part as early as June 2015 when Florida extended a scholarship offer to this rising sophomore. By that point, Snead already had offers from UCF, USF as well as Power Five offers from Indiana, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. Snead appreciated the interest from arguably the premier in-state program but remained vague as to what program he fancied during the summer among his available offers.
This changed over the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. Snead began to openly favor Ohio State despite not having seen the campus and having no shortage of regional offers. When pressed to elaborate why he favored Ohio State, Snead highlighted two factors. Ohio State had accrued some capital to that point as a running back-oriented program after the success of backs like Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott. Snead knew the Buckeyes were a program that privileged good tailback play. In addition, he talked up his relationship with Tony Alford on the recruiting trail.
Snead acquired a few more offers over the following year. He even took a visit to Florida State and tried to solicit a scholarship offer from the Seminoles to match the interest they professed. However, Ohio State was always his top choice whenever he was asked. It was just a matter of getting Snead to campus for a glimpse of what a game atmosphere resembles, even in the off-season.
That visit for Friday Night Lights in 2016 was enough to end his recruitment.
Brian Snead announced his commitment to Ohio State via Twitter, becoming the first commitment in what would become the full 2018 recruiting class. He committed to Ohio State over several competing offers, largely choosing the Buckeyes over in-state Florida. He held other offers from programs like Michigan, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
It's any wonder that was the end of the story. Snead visited Ohio State once and fell in love enough to commit on the spot even as the courtship had lasted about a year before that point. The No. 3 running back in the country, and hailing from a great program in a talent-rich state like Florida, Snead could conceivably held out to either force Florida State's hand or solicit offers from other marquee programs across the country.
But that's not the route he took. His recruitment ended there without offers from programs like Alabama, Florida State, or USC, but it's because they knew he was sold on Ohio State. A return visit to Ohio State for camps in 2017 and an official visit in October of last year stand out as the only recruiting events for Snead in the year and a half since he committed. He signed with Ohio State on Dec. 20.
WHERE HE EXCELS
Snead has the potential to be an every-down back for Ohio State down the road given his skill set. Overall, he's a solid back with no apparent specialty or skill that might stand out as the only superlative we mention in this feature. However, that should not be interpreted as a back-handed compliment. He's just an overall solid back.
He's a powerful runner. He's not a bruiser in the mold of a Carlos Hyde, but he runs with authority at the line of scrimmage. It propels his burst from the backfield when he gets the hand-off.
He's got great speed too. No one would confuse him for a "burner." Compare him to J.K. Dobbins or Ezekiel Elliott and you'd be left with the impression both have the slight edge in the speed department. However, Snead would have a speed advantage over Mike Weber. However you compare Snead to other Ohio State backs past and present, he's still a credible threat to take one to the house should he make it into the secondary.
I'll highlight two superlatives of an overall solid back that I think are either unusual or a nifty part of his skill set. One, Snead has an interesting elusiveness in the open field, showing an ability to juke defenders in the open field with a subtle shoulder lean.
Two, I don't see many backs who look as comfortable in the screen/wheel game as Snead. He can be led by a quarterback's throw to the spot too and catch it with his hands. That's uncommon for most high school backs I see, even the good ones that come to a program like Ohio State.
MUST WORK ON
I see two things worth mentioning here starting first with the major comment. Snead is a powerful runner and dangerous in the open field when he follows the designed play. However, Snead does exhibit a tendency to bounce the play outside prematurely. Discipline, patience, and even vision will be high-priority for Snead under Tony Alford's tutelage.
Snead's ability to help the Buckeyes in pass protection is an open question. Understandably, most highlight films of running backs will feature the back with the ball in his hand and not what he can do for the squad in pass protection or some other support role. If Snead aspires to be an every-down back, he'll want to prove how unselfish he is much like Ezekiel Elliott's ascent to starting tailback in 2014 hinged on how good he was without the ball in his hand.
J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are a formidable running back tandem and Antonio Williams is serviceable as a backup. There are not many paths to the field for Snead in 2018 and it's not clear Ohio State should want to burn eligibility on a player who won't see much action. Expect a redshirt for Snead in 2018.
Here are senior-year highlights of Snead.