After months of waiting, Master Teague finally got the green light to make the decision he’d wanted to make for his entire recruitment.
A month ago, Mater Teague’s recruitment looked far different than it does today. He had a top three of Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee, and was widely looked at as the kind of recruit a school like Ohio State wouldn’t offer until late in the process. Earlier this month, Teague visited a camp at Alabama, and his performance there completely changed his recruitment, and led directly to his commitment to Ohio State today.
At that Tuscaloosa camp, Teague put up incredible numbers, including a 4.31 40 time, 40.7 vertical leap, and 4.00 3 cone. With those numbers, Teague would have been the top running back performer in each event at the 2017 NFL combine. Then, five days later, Teague showcased his skills again, at an Ohio State camp. He put up equally impressive numbers, and wowed the coaches. Teague also spent some of his time in Columbus being wowed himself, as he took a tour of Ohio State’s campus, met with Mickey Marotti, and got a look into the daily life of an Ohio State football player. Shortly after, he was called into Urban Meyer’s office, and offered the scholarship he had coveted for so long.
Ohio State doesn’t offer anyone they don’t think can play at Ohio State, especially not at a position like running back, where there’s only one on the field at a time, and a recruiting miss can cripple your running game for years. With that being said, what does Master Teague bring to Ohio State?
ON THE FIELD
Teague’s skill set on the football field is extremely rare. At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, Teague runs a 4.31 40 time(!!!!!). For comparison, Ohio State running back Mike Weber is 5-foot-10, 214 pounds, and runs a 4.52 40 time. That’s not saying that Weber is slow, it’s just saying that Teague is a freak athlete.
With Teague, as is usually the case with freak high school athletes, he’s pretty raw, and has some developing to do on the technical side of the running back position. He’ll need to learn the nuances of the position before he sees the field in Columbus, and thankfully for him, Tony Alford is one of the best running back coaches in the business.
With the sheer amount of raw talent and athleticism that Teague possesses, if he continues to work at honing his craft at Ohio State, he could be in the NFL a few years from now. As a runner, Teague is already very skilled. He has very solid footwork, cuts up the field with purpose, hits holes quickly, runs downhill, and plays with a lot of power. His ability to cut, paired with his strength, is a very dangerous, and very rare combination.
He still needs to work on the things a lot of young running backs need to work on. His patience is good, but it could be better. He has a tendency to get tunnel vision, he needs to survey the entire field so he doesn’t miss open holes, opting instead for more contact, and usually, less yardage. He also needs a lot of help in the passing game, both blocking and receiving, though there’s another back in this class that will likely do a lot of the receiving out of the backfield in place of Teague.
IN THE CLASS
In Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, Teague’s fit almost makes too much sense. He’s the third running back, along with Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill (not really a running back), and the 13th commitment overall. He makes so much sense because Ohio State doesn’t have a running back like him in the class yet. Snead is more of a scat back, while Gill is an H-Back, and possibly even a wide receiver. Neither of them are every-down running backs, and neither of them can carry the ball 25 times a game. Teague can.
This commitment also means the end of running back recruiting for Ohio State in 2018. They chased Zamir White for awhile, but ultimately, they felt they had a better chance with Teague, and didn’t want to miss out by waiting too long, for a player that will likely pick Georgia. This is very good news for Ohio State, because it means they can shift their focus away from the running backs in 2018, and towards other positions of need, as well as to their top running back target in 2019, Noah Cain.
Teague isn’t the kind of guy who will come in and be a star right away. No one is expecting that, no one will be disappointed when he’s not the next Maurice Clarett, starting as a true freshman. However, Teague has the potential to be the next great Ohio State running back. He has that “it factor” that every good running back needs, and if he keeps working, he should be a very good Buckeye, and eventually, a very good NFL running back.