On Sunday, Ohio State added another key piece to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class, bringing another talented prospect to Urban Meyer’s program. What will the Buckeyes’ latest commit bring to Columbus, on and off the field?
Ohio State continued its climb toward the top of the national recruiting rankings on Sunday afternoon when the Buckeyes added 3-star tailback Master Teague III to their 2018 class.
RELATED: Master Teague commits to Ohio State
What are they getting from this big addition? Let’s take a look at the newest Buckeye.
As a football player
Teague is an exceptional athlete. The numbers he recorded while camping at Alabama and Ohio State in the last two weeks are a solid indicator of that.
— Master W. Teague III (@33_blackman) June 10, 2017
In April, Teague relayed to Land of 10 a message from Urban Meyer as he waited for an offer from the Buckeyes.
“Urban Meyer said that there are only three, maybe five other running backs in the country that can do what I do,” Teague said. “They want to check all of the boxes about me and seeing me move in person is the last one to be checked. All other boxes have been checked. They want to make sure just like we want to make sure. It has been good building a relationship with them.”
The Buckeyes checked those boxes during multiple spring visits to Murfreesboro, Tenn., and for the last time on June 9, which led to being offered by Ohio State. A staff member at Blackman High School who has coached Teague shared what coaches are seeing from 247Sports’ No. 8-ranked tailback.
“He has a unique blend of speed and power,” the coach said. “He’s an [Urban Meyer] guy; he loves and embraces the grind. He wants to play for the best.”
As I see Teague’s tape, and compare his frame and speed with current Buckeyes tailback Mike Weber, I see similar players. He’s a straight-ahead, pound-the-middle tailback. In his own words, Teague says Buckeyes fans should expect to see a physical player.
“As a running back,” Teague said Sunday afternoon, “I’m going to go straight ahead and get there fast. I don’t do a lot of dancing and wiggling.”
His role in the 2018 recruiting class
The addition of Teague adds some intrigue moving forward. The Buckeyes had been going after Zamir White, the country’s No. 1-ranked tailback, as he prepares to make his commitment on June 27. I do not expect that to change, but knowing that Teague and Brian Snead are committed could prove to be the final nail in the “White to Georgia” coffin. It’s unlikely Ohio State takes three running backs in 2018.
If the Buckeyes want to keep pursuing White, though, it doesn’t appear Teague has any problem with that.
“Ohio State is going to offer who they think can help them win,” he said. “If they want to commit, they should take it.”
Teague is the second member of the Buckeyes’ 2018 class from talent-rich Tennessee, joining 4-star offensive lineman Max Wray. He’s also the high school teammate of 2019 wide receiver Trey Knox, a top target of the Buckeyes. Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford has been the primary recruiter for Teague and helped maintain the relationship over the months he appeared to be leaning toward Georgia, Auburn or Tennessee.
With Teague’s commitment, Ohio State increases its lead over Penn State — which added 4-star defensive lineman Dorian Hardy on Sunday — as the Big Ten’s best recruiting class in 2018. The Buckeyes now trail the Miami Hurricanes by just under three points and appear poised to move into the top spot nationally with their next addition.
The off-the-field intangible stuff
If there’s a spot Teague is “different” than most of the players in his class, this may be the area.
“His intangibles separate him,” the source at Blackman shared. “He’s one of the greatest kids you’ll ever be around. It sounds cliché, but he is the first on the practice field and the last one to leave. He cleans the field after every practice and sweeps the floor of the locker room after every practice. That is unheard of for a superstar upperclassman and speaks to the character of the young man.”
That praise is effusive, but there’s more, and it gets potentially more hyperbolic.
“He’s not afraid of competition,” he added. “This may be overstating things, but he has Tim Tebow qualities.”
Teague is motivated by, and plays for, his faith. He doesn’t hide that. He wears the No. 33 for religious reasons, according to a story by DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell.
Teague plays the game for a spiritual reason. “Of course I love playing,” he said. “But I also think God has been calling for me. He is trying to build my foundation as a man through football. He wants to use me to spread his word and the gospel to other people. Maybe do some type of ministry-type thing. I think that’s probably why I play football. … I play for Christ.”
His jersey number is an expression of his faith. “Remember that’s the year and how old Jesus was when he died on the cross,” he said. “So I was thinking that I want to just keep that number, play for Christ and make that number represent something.”
Stay tuned with Land of 10 for more on the decision of Master Teague III. Discuss what it means for the Buckeyes recruiting class with Ohio State fans in the new Land of 10 message forums.