[This is the second in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is running back Steele Chambers.]
Steele Chambers came to Ohio State from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, Georgia where he was a 4-star recruit. Ranked the No. 11 athlete in the nation and the No. 231 player overall in the 2019 class, some schools recruited Chambers as a linebacker and others recruited him as a running back. He signed with the Buckeyes over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, and others.
Chambers did not enroll early as a freshman, choosing instead to arrive in the summer. That decision automatically put him behind tailback classmate Marcus Crowley, who enrolled in the winter and took part in workouts and spring ball.
“When you look at what we’ve done at running back, I think we’ve improved there,” Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said on signing day one year ago. “We lost Mike [Weber]. We lost Brian [Snead]. We get Steele and Marcus is already here doing a good job. Steele is somebody who is very, very talented, comes from a great family. Marcus, Gatorade Player of the Year. We improved our depth there. Those guys will both compete, Marcus in the spring, Steele in the preseason.”
Chambers (6-2 215) played in four games, securing his redshirt — should he eventually need it.
While he played in four games, he only carried the ball in three games, rushing for a total of 135 yards on 19 carries (7.1 ypc), scoring once. Five of his 19 carries went for at least 10 yards.
In those three games, he proved to be more elusive than the linebacker many coaches saw him as, though he also showed the kind of power that made you understand why linebacker wasn’t such an outrageous thought.
His last game for the Buckeyes was against Rutgers, which means he sat out Ohio State’s final four games — all against ranked opponents.
Chambers did get a little bit of experience against a ranked team earlier in the season, however, rushing for 16 yards on two carries in the 42-0 week two blowout of Cincinnati.
So Now What For Steele Chambers?
It wasn’t an overly productive season for Chambers, but it was definitely a successful one. He got his feet wet and his coaches got to see him operate in a real game. That experience is going to allow him to hit the ground running in 2020.
While he is still going to be the least-experienced man on the Ohio State totem pole this spring, it’s not like anybody has definitively established himself as JK Dobbins’ replacement.
Master Teague is the Buckeyes’ leading returning rusher, but Chambers will now have an opportunity to make some impressions during the winter, spring, and fall camp.
It is always tough finding carries for a third Buckeye running back — especially when there is a quarterback who also runs the ball. Right now, Chambers is behind Teague, Crowley, and Demario McCall, but if he outperforms them in the spring, he won’t be behind them for long.