Skull Session: The 2021 Class is Already Insane, C.J. Stroud Could Be a Five-Star Prospect, and Replacing J.K. Dobbins With Master Teague

By Kevin Harrish on January 9, 2020 at 4:59 am
Garrett Wilson is celebrating in today's skull session.

Advice from Mike McCarthy to start the day: you've gotta do what you've gotta do.

Word of the Day: Aggrandize.

 TRAIN KEEPS ROLLING. Ohio State's constant absurd success on the recruiting trail kind of makes you numb after a while. It's gotten to the point where come December, I honestly just expect half the class to be top-100 players with three or four five-star prospects sprinkled in.

I'm seldom disappointed, but I can't say my entitled ass is ever truly appreciative either. So now and then it's good to have a little context.

And I can assure you, they ain't done. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, if you catch my drift.

 FIFTH STAR COMING? Ohio State hasn't signed a five-star quarterback out of high school since Braxton Miller in 2011 (sorry for the technicality, Justin Fields), but there's a chance it happens this year with CJ Stroud potentially getting a sweet post-enrollment bump.

Is CJ Stroud a five-star? I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name come up when we start to work on the Top247’s final 32. The Ohio State signee burst onto the national scene with an MVP showing at the Elite 11 Finals over the summer and proceeded to nearly double the production from his junior to senior seasons. Stroud’s rapid ascent continued in San Antonio. There was little if any drop-off from Young and Uiagalelei to Stroud. The Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) product is a natural passer with the ability to locate the ball with zip and touch to all levels of the field. Stroud didn’t run much at the high school level, but he showed some better than average mobility over the course of the week. We were also impressed with his willingness to step up and move within the pocket in the face of pressure. Stroud is currently No. 95 in the Top247.

If he actually gets a fifth star, that would be an absolutely meteoric rise up the rankings. In February of last year, Stroud was the No. 860 player in the country, which explains why you'd probably never even heard his name until the summer.

A fifth star would be cool and good, but as long as his upward trajectory continues, I really don't care what you rank him right now. He'll be exactly where he needs to be when he needs to be there.

 THE MASTER PLAN. If you would have asked me about my confidence in Master Teague as the starting running back next season after what he did in the first nine games this season, I would have told you to start the Heisman campaign.

But his past four games, as Griffin Strom of The Lantern points out, are at least a bit concerning and have fractured my admittedly unreasonable expectation that things were just gonna be sunshine and perfection next season.

But when his most important reps of the season came after Dobbins limped back to the locker room following an ankle injury in the Fiesta Bowl, Teague couldn’t produce. He ran for just 9 yards on seven carries against Clemson.

Still, Teague appears the frontrunner to replace a man who set the all-time single-season rushing mark at Ohio State, even if the program is losing more than it gains.


For a man who had no hard time running over opposing defenders for most of the season, Teague faced challenges gaining traction during the final stretch of the Buckeyes’ season.

In the final three games when Teague took a handoff –– Penn State, Michigan and Clemson –– the Tennessee native had his worst games of the year, running for barely more than 2 yards per carry to gain just 45 yards on 21 attempts.

I don't think it's totally fair to pin this all on Teague, because he and Dobbins are very different players and the offense was clearly designed with Dobbins in mind. Teague's got his obvious strengths, and now Ryan Day's got nine months to figure out how to best use them. And personally, I'm fine with trusting him to do that.

 BORROWING FROM THE BUCKS. It looks like Jeff Hafley's coaching staff is going to have a distinct Buckeye flavor as he's already hired two former Ohio State staffers to join his squad.

Inevitably, someone online will be salty about Jeff not only leaving, but taking some Ohio State staffers with him. But personally, I'm all for it. None of these guys were staying longterm anyway, so they may as well join a staff with an (awesome) former Buckeye coordinator in a conference where they can be at least a pain in the ass for Clemson.

I'm taking a Joe Burrow approach to Jeff Hafley – I'll support the hell out of him and his team until he crosses paths with my team. In that case, I'll want a 65-point shutout win and the anthropomorphic eagle's head mounted on the wall like a trophy.

 MIKE GUAPO. With Kansas City taking on Houston in the NFL playoffs this week, Mike Weber presumably has a particular skill that the Chiefs require – running like Carlos Hyde.

For those of you who don't excel at reading between lines, this almost certainly means Weber will be acting as Hyde on the Chiefs scout team this week, which is a fantastic throwback to Mike's true freshman season when the team called him "Baby 'Los" cause he ran just like Hyde.

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