On the same night that Ohio State added five-star defensive end Chase Young to its 2017 class, the Buckeyes also earned their first commitment from the Class of 2018. Four-star running back Brian Snead, of Seffner, Florida, announced his pledge on Twitter shortly after Friday Night Lights came to a close.
Considered the No. 6 overall running back in his graduating class by 247Sports Composite Rankings, Snead chose Ohio State over one dozen other offers from schools like Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Though it seemed, to some, as if Snead's commitment came out of left field — it was his first visit to Columbus — the Buckeyes have quite simply locked down one of the best running backs in the class of 2018. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound speedster rushed for a team-high 1,206 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore while splitting time with two other tailbacks for talent-rich Armwood High School, the Florida Class 6A state runners-up.
Two things that stand out on film are Snead's explosiveness and strength, which make it difficult for would-be tacklers to bring him down on first contact. He seems to lack vision at times — he's a powerful north-south runner, but not as smooth moving side to side — but his acceleration gives him that extra boost to run right past defenders in the second and third levels when need be.
Snead also seems to take leadership in the locker room, as noted during a preseason interview with the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month. When asked about two games in which the Hawks were trailing at halftime, he said, “Those were games where I had to really buckle down and get my team together. Get their heads straight, keep positive vibes around and stuff like that. We were down, and we just had to bring them all together as a team and just say, 'Hey, we've got to go all together as one.'
Armwood would go on to win both games, so it's not a wonder to see Ohio State running back coach Tony Alford take such interest in Snead. The pair worked closely together during the event on Friday, which played a role in Snead's pledge that evening.
“I committed because it just felt like home,” he told 247Sports ($) after Friday Night Lights. “After talking it over with my coaches and parents, we felt it was the best choice. I loved the atmosphere, the players on the team and the great positive vibes at Ohio State.”
Snead spent the majority of his visit with current players and toured campus, but came away most impressed with how the Buckeyes' coaching staff will help shape his future.
“[Alford and head coach Urban Meyer] were just saying they can help me both with football and the future,” he said. “They said, at the end of the day, you never know if you're going to make it in football, but that they could help with me with my future — getting a job in business, which is what I want to do.”
Though out-of-state commits who pledge nearly 18 months from signing day often look elsewhere before making a final decision, Snead said that won't be the case.
“I'm locked down with Ohio State,” he said. “I'm not taking any visits or anything like that.”
With only three scholarship running backs — and a commitment from top 2017 prospect J.K. Dobbins — there is not a lot of depth currently on the Buckeyes' roster. Depending how the whole Dobbins-Cam Akers situation shakes out, too, I would expect Ohio State look for another back to complement Snead in the wide-open Class of 2018.