Tennessee running back Master Teague committed to Ohio State on Sunday following an impressive camp performance on Friday where he earned an OSU offer. Teague became commitment No. 13 for the Buckeyes in 2018. How will this impact Ohio State now and moving forward?
Master Teague (5-11 210) is a 4-star running back out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Blackman High School) who committed to the Buckeyes this weekend. He selected Ohio State over offers from Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Louisville, Northwestern, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, and many others.
Teague is rated a 3-star prospect per the 247Sports Composite, and the No. 25 running back in the nation. He is also listed as the No. 14 prospect in the state. That ranking is weighted down by Scout and Rivals, who rate Teague as the No. 32 running back in the class, and ESPN, who ranks him as the No. 39 running back in 2018. 247Sports lists him as their No. 8 running back in the 2018 class and a 4-star prospect overall.
Teague rushed for 2,031 yards and 24 touchdowns last season as a junior. He was a First-Team All-State selection. Performing at back-to-back camps at Alabama and Ohio State this month, Teague was timed running the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds. His speed is evident as you watch his highlights.
Master Teague wears No. 33 in high school and if we stick with that number, there are some comparisons to draw from the last two prominent Buckeye running backs who wore that number. Joe Montgomery was a freshman at Ohio State in 1994. He came in listed at 5-foot-11 and 201 pounds, which is pretty close to where Teague is now. Like Montgomery, Teague has a wide base and runs with a momentum that doesn’t get distracted by contact.
Montgomery was a very violent runner, which eventually took its toll on his body. That’s where the traits from another No. 33 comes in that allow Teague to avoid such violence. He has a burst similar to that of former Buckeye running back Butler By’not’e. He is able to hit holes and create bad angles in a matter of four or five steps. He’s definitely a different style of runner than By’not’e, but the burst and the jersey numbers are similar.
Teague also has a similar skill set to current OSU starting running back Mike Weber. The difference, however, is that Teague might have that extra bit of “go” that held Weber back at times a year ago. He’s not just a home-run hitter, though. He will fight for that sixth yard just as hard as he will run for the 60th.
Let’s see, Master Teague is a running back with a low base and instant acceleration. That’s basically the prototype. He’s not “sneaky fast” like some tailbacks, he’s “blatantly-out-in-the-open fast.” His junior film shows a pretty good offensive line, so of course he’s going to have plenty of big hits. His sophomore highlights were impressive to me because the line didn’t appear as dominating and he had to display plenty of agility and vision.
Teague is as comfortable running between the tackles as he is running a sweep around the edge. He’s not unlike Ezekiel Elliott or Curtis Samuel in that regard. You can’t really pigeon-hole Teague, and if you tried, he’d probably find a way to sneak through it and into the second level.
The Depth Chart
Master Teague will hit campus next year with Demario McCall, J.K. Dobbins, and Antonio Williams ahead of him. Mike Weber is likely headed to the NFL with another solid year. He hasn’t said anything like that or hinted at it, but this is something Ohio State has to prepare for. Teague will also be joined in the 2018 class by Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill. Gill will head over to H-back, but he is still going to be involved in getting carries.
Can McCall, Dobbins, and Williams stay ahead of Teague? Can Teague even distance himself from his classmates? These questions will eventually be answered. As we saw from Dobbins this spring, however, if a freshman is good enough, then the depth chart will make room.
Ohio State has worked very hard to build a deeper and more diverse stable of running backs. While they loved having Ezekiel Elliott carrying the load, they don’t want to have to be so reliant upon just one tailback if they don’t have to be. The key to avoiding that is simply to play more players.
If Mike Weber does leave after 2017, then the Buckeyes will have only gotten two years out of him on the field. That’s not what they want to keep doing. Both Demario McCall and Antonio Williams played as true freshmen last season, just as J.K. Dobbins will do this season.
Two freshmen running backs have redshirted under Urban Meyer, and both were due to injury. Basically, if everything goes perfectly, Ohio State running backs are only going to be around for three years anyway, so why would you use one of those years as a redshirt?
Barring an injury, Teague should have every opportunity to get some carries in 2018.