Buckeye Football Freshman Focus: Running Back Brian Snead

Brian Snead Ohio State Football Buckeyes

For his lofty recruiting ranking, Brian Snead has been one of quieter out-of-state recruitments in recent Ohio State football memory.

Snead, ranked the No. 3 running back in the 2018 recruiting class, visited OSU for Friday Night Lights last year, committed the day after, took his official visit in October, and signed in December.

The lack of drama was almost boring.

The Buckeyes would have loved to have Snead (5-11 200) in for spring football, but he won’t enroll until this summer. The timing puts him behind fellow true freshman Master Teague on the depth chart, but he’ll have all of fall camp and beyond to make a move.

What To Like

Brian Snead is a compact runner who doesn’t waste a lot of motion. He has the ability to keep plays alive, but forward is always the preferred plan of attack.

Snead’s balance allows his patience to pay off as he glances off of tacklers as blockers emerge just in time. He may not have the top-end speed yet of current Buckeyes Mike Weber, J.K. Dobbins, and Master Teague, but he will get faster.

When he does, he will be able to combine his new-found abilities with the skills he already possesses, such as his ability to make defenders miss.

A one-on-one situation should usually be a win for an Ohio State running back, and Snead has shown that he is not easy to bring down.

While he could get away with running backward a bit in high school, that ends when he arrives on campus. The speed in college is too good to make retreat a favored tactic.

Snead shouldn’t have a problem only being pointed in one direction, especially when he tries to reverse field a time or two in practice and is dropped for a loss of eight yards. He will learn quickly.

For the most part, however, Snead is going to head toward the line of scrimmage where the play is designed. Inside the red zone, he has a knack for bringing those designs to life. He isn’t easy to hit, and when he is, he is strong enough to knife forward for that last yard.

The Potential

His physical attributes and understanding of what the offensive line is doing for him make Snead a good running back. His vision, however, is what could make him great. He is completely comfortable running in traffic, not unlike J.K. Dobbins.

Snead doesn’t shy from physicality, so he has no problem going from outside the numbers to inside the hashes. He will cut back into the middle of the field if that’s where his eyes lead him. Snead isn’t one of those running backs who looks for the sideline to bail him out. He’ll bail himself out if it’s ever necessary.

Snead looks like he will develop into a very productive college running back because he knows how to use his offensive line. He is patient, and doesn’t look out of place anywhere on the field. Everywhere is comfortable for him. As such, he’s a guy who should be able to touch the ball from any angle and succeed, including out of the wildcat.

The Expectations

Brian Snead may or may not have elite speed, but his football speed still allows him to get yards outside. He can go inside out and get the edge. As an outlet receiver, he is also able to stretch the field.

Early on in his time at Ohio State, they will likely try to keep him between the tackles, much like they did with Demario McCall in 2016. If Snead can get snaps while the game is not yet out of hand, however, then we could see more of what he is capable of doing.

The Bottom Line

Snead does some things in high school that won’t work in college football, but as he is doing them, you can see that he is still keeping his eyes forward. There may be back tracking or stretching, but he’s always looking for a hole to cut up into. He has patience and trust in his teammates, but he also has the same patience and trust in himself to make the most of each carry.

Not every play is going to be a winner, but he’s still going to try to find a way to at least break even.

There may not be many snaps for either Brian Snead or Master Teague this season, but running backs coach Tony Alford is still going to prepare them to play. If Snead proves himself capable in fall camp, they will find some carries for him.

Barring injury, however, it’s going to be difficult to break into the dynamic duo of Dobbins and Weber.

A year of learning — while still getting playing time — is going to make this a valuable season for the freshman tailback.

4 Responses

  1. Brian Snead is going to be a dynamic tailback. He and Master Teague give the Buckeyes inside AND outside threats. How many places can honestly say that (God forbid) if their number 1 and number 2 tailbacks go down…………..they don’t miss a beat, and if the number 3 and number 4 tailbacks go down they still don’t miss a beat with number 5 and number 6 (McCall and Gill).?

    ON the subject……..wonder how Zamir White is doing these days? Will he see the field in his first 2 years as a tailback?

  2. Reminds me a little of Emmit Smith – who didn’t have break away speed but I believe is the all time leading rusher in the NFL.

  3. You know, it’s the offseason, so I’ve been re-watching some games from the last few years. As I was watching the clips of Snead being “comfortable in traffic”, I realized our best runner in traffic the last few years has been JT Barrett. Like Snead, JT was fast for a slow guy!
    I think Snead’s style would be good on returns, too, if he can field kicks.

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