If you want to play immediately as a freshman at Ohio State, there are easier avenues to choose than running back right now. The Buckeyes return talented tailbacks J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, who combined for 2,029 yards rushing last year.
In other words, the demand is not very high for ground reinforcements. At least not yet.
In order to keep the Ohio State football program running smoothly each year, however, Urban Meyer makes sure there is enough talent on hand to handle both the unforeseen and the eventual.
Take last year, for instance. Following a 1,000-yard season as a redshirt freshman, Mike Weber was expected to expand upon his rookie year with an even better performance in 2017. A hamstring injury kept that from happening, but the lights never even flickered on the Ohio State offense as true freshman J.K. Dobbins stepped right in and rushed for over 1,400 yards.
That is the power of recruiting. And so as the Buckeyes embark on a 2018 season with two very talented and established running backs, that didn’t keep Meyer and running backs coach Tony Alford from going out and signing two more tailbacks in the 2018 class.
Master Teague enrolled early in January and performed very well. So much so that third-year player Antonio Williams decided to transfer to North Carolina. Last weekend, freshman Brian Snead finally arrived at Ohio State as well. Together, they represent two of the top three freshman running backs in the Big Ten according to the recruiting rankings.
Fans and the media got to see a bit of Teague in the spring, and he was impressive. What will we see from Brian Snead when fall camp opens?
“You’re going to see a pretty good-looking athlete,” Alford said this spring. “I’m going to guess if he walked in here right now you’re going to see a guy who’s about 210 pounds, a good-looking young guy, bright-eyed and high energy. That’s my hope.”
Based on photos posted by Ohio State Football’s Twitter account, Alford’s hopes have been met.
With two established veterans ahead of Snead this year, and ground to make up to catch classmate Master Teague, carries are likely to be sparse this season. There will still be plenty of opportunities on special teams, which is the case for all young players.
Tony Alford doesn’t know what kind of season to expect from Snead, but he knows what it’s going to take to be where the Buckeyes need him to be.
“He’s got to learn the offense,” Alford said. “There’s so much. To say where he’s going to be, I don’t know. My expectations are he’s going to come in here and compete. He’s going to come in here and do all he can and be very intentional about learning our offense and buying into our culture of just playing as hard as you can every single snap. Take it all in and just be the best version of him that he can be. That’s my expectation. Now where it goes from there, we’ve got to see how he’s up and running.”