We continue the Better Know a Buckeye series with its 9th installment in 2018. Here, we profile Master Teague, a running back from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
- Size: 5-11/215
- Position: RB
- Hometown: Murfreesboro, TN
- School: Blackman
- 247 Composite: ★★★★
- National Ranking: 228
- Position Ranking: 11 (RB)
- State Ranking: 6 (TN)
Teague is a surprising addition to this recruiting class. He's nominally the third running back to join the class. He was offered a full three months after the second tailback (Jaelen Gill) had already pledged to the Buckeyes. However, Master Teague always had Ohio State high on the wish list, a testament to Ohio State's pedigree and Tony Alford's persistence. Alford always saw the potential. He just needed to get Teague to Ohio State so Urban Meyer could see it. A spot offer at a June 9, 2017 camp led to a commitment two days later.
I retell this story below. I forgo discussing Teague's earlier courtship to places like Auburn and Georgia to focus on how unlikely it is that Ohio State offered Teague to join an already stacked backfield. Thereafter, I relay Teague's own words to Eleven Warriors as well as his local newspaper about why he chose Ohio State over competing offers. I offer a scouting report of a powerful back who will likely emerge as a "workout warrior" as he develops. I conclude with a projection of a redshirt and some senior-year highlight film to watch at the end of the feature.
Master Teague is a surprising addition to Ohio State's recruiting class for a variety of reasons. He was the third of three tailbacks to commit to the Buckeyes. His commitment succeeded previous pledges from Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill.
Further, he was offered much later into the cycle. He didn't sit on an Ohio State offer for a few years before choosing the Buckeyes. Ohio State only offered him on June 9, 2017, a full three months after Jaelen Gill already became the second tailback in Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class.
More Master Teague at 11W
That's not to say Teague was a stranger to the program. He visited Ohio State in 2016 for the Northwestern game and made another unofficial visit at the end of last March. Those are noisy signals, especially from an out-of-state prospect, that Ohio State was high on the wish list. Teague was certainly high on Tony Alford's wish list. Alford had made two visits to Murfreesboro to keep the lines open for Teague, a strong signal that Alford considered Teague a hidden gem despite Ohio State's other irons in the fire at running back.
With all that said, Ohio State already had two backs in the class and a solid tailback stable on the roster. It seemed improbable there was any room for Teague in this class.
Ohio State decided to make room after Teague impressed the coaching staff at one-day camp on June 9 of last year. Therein, Urban Meyer got to see what Tony Alford saw in Teague. The Buckeyes extended an offer on the spot and it didn't take long for Teague to accept it.
Master Teague committed to Ohio State on June 11, 2017 as the 9th member of what would become Ohio State's full 2018 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over competing offers from Auburn, Georgia, and South Carolina.
It was that relationship, especially with Alford, that led Teague to forgo other major offers from Auburn, Georgia, and South Carolina to become the third running back in Ohio State's 2018 class. Eleven Warriors was fortunate to get full and extended thoughts from Teague about his decision.
This process has been an exciting but sometimes stressful one as well, but I was able to be at peace to the help of my parents. They have been by my side through the whole journey guiding me and us putting our minds together. I have built many relationships with a lot of schools and have experienced the differences of each. The Ohio State University coaching staff and I have been able to build a close relationship over the past several months. I have really enjoyed getting to know them all. I would like to thank all the people now and in the past that have helped bring me up to were I am today. I would also like to thank all the schools that believed in me and were involved in my recruiting. The hard part of recruiting is telling other schools that I will be apart of their program.
An early signing day editorial published at The Tennessean offered words to a similar effect.
There are a lot of reasons that I signed with Ohio State.
The decision was a family decision that involved me, my mother and my father. We spent a lot of time visiting at schools and talking to coaches.
We frequently talked with running back coaches, head coaches and offensive coordinators.
We knew that The Ohio State had solid program. It is a program with solid coaches and a winning tradition. There is little chance that there will be a coaching change.
It is also a program that does a great job at developing good football players into elite football players. Coach (Urban) Meyer doesn’t just want his players to get a degree but he wants to help them start a career and he makes sure that certain things are in place to make sure that happens.
The Ohio State program also gives me that opportunity to grow as a man and into the man I desire to be.
Teague was solid on Ohio State thereafter, eventually signing with Ohio State during the early signing period. He enrolled at Ohio State in January to make an immediate impact.
WHERE HE EXCELS
Teague was a curious prospect in a lot of ways. He was a three-star prospect through most of his recruitment, ultimately finishing with a fourth star. It's easy to attribute that "bump" to his visibility after committing to Ohio State, but clearly programs like Auburn and Georgia knew enough about him to raise his profile with offers of their own. He even had an offer from Notre Dame. Clemson threw its hat into the ring a few months after he committed to Ohio State.
The curiosity then is what explains his meager recruiting rankings notwithstanding this interest. Murfreesboro isn't a talent hot bed and Teague is from there because his father is a full-time lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University. However, that hasn't stopped other recruits from gaining exposure under similar circumstances. The likely culprit is that Teague just didn't hit the camp circuit as often as other prospects to raise his profile. Clearly the best coaches across the country saw the potential ahead of time.
His measurables further belie his meager recruiting rankings. Check this out.
On 6/9/2017 @MasterTeagueIII did this. Next week he will sign, not with his dream school as some has called them but with a school whose coaches did an epic job in recruiting him, a school that ended up being the best school! #Led pic.twitter.com/ec5rTx47YK— Dr. Corey M Teague (@DrCoreyMTeague) December 12, 2017
We know programs will fudge 40 times to amplify them but you can control for that here by noting Ohio State also says Mike Weber runs a 4.5 40. The same program that says Weber, a power back with decent speed, runs a 4.5 40 says Teague, a power back with apparently better speed, runs a 4.3 40.
Ohio State fans that hope to see Teague on the field in the near future will be impressed most by his power with this speed. Remember Trent Richardson at Alabama (i.e. before he flamed out with the Browns)? Richardson could power clean 365 in college and ran like the strongest back in the country. Teague can power clean 340 already and should put up some "workout warrior" numbers as he develops.
MUST WORK ON
Running back prospects can have college and pro potential whether they come from a prospect factory like IMG or from a rural high school without a lot of surrounding talent. However, the latter prospects have more to improve. In Teague's case, he's a powerful runner who can be somewhat impatient. His vision in the backfield isn't where it ultimately needs to be for him to emerge as a No. 1 back. Those are all important limitations, none of them ultimately damning indictments, on which he'll need to improve as he progresses through the program.
Further, Teague doesn't show much in the passing game, either in pass protection or on a route. Of the three tailbacks in this class, that's clearly Jaelen Gill's strength. It'll still be an important focal point for Teague as he develops.
I'm invariably going to be wrong about at least one of these projections, but I'm on record predicting redshirts for Brian Snead, Jaelen Gill, and Master Teague. Gill might have the most potential to see the field in 2018 because he has a far different skill set than the other backs, but a variety of factors stunted his development and a redshirt still seems likely in his case.
In Teague's case, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are sure commodities and Antonio Williams is a capable third option. That should amount to a redshirt for Teague even as he got a head start on his career by enrolling early.
Here are senior-year highlights of Master Teague.