MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Though the recruiting rankings haven’t always reflected it, Ohio State appears to have landed a gem when Master Teague committed in June.
The Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman running back spent much of the process as a 3-star recruit in the 247Sports composite rankings before receiving a late bump to a 4-star rating. He’s currently the No. 11 running back and No. 219 overall recruit.
To learn what Teague can bring to Ohio State, Land of 10 caught up with Blackman assistant coach Kit Hartsfield.
Q: How would you describe Master Teague’s personality?
Hartsfield: When people describe Master Teague, they think of a high-character kid who’s very humble and quiet. He doesn’t say much but he’s nice to everyone. He’s an extremely hard worker and he’s a leader who leads by example. Most people don’t know this, but he also has a fun side. He seems mature beyond his years, but he also likes to have fun. He’s a funny kid who’s great to be around.
Q: What has he done to develop throughout his high school career?
Hartsfield: He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. He’s the first one here and the last one to leave. He’ll work out during class at school, then he’ll practice and then he’ll work out after practice. His work ethic is unmatched. I’d put that up against anyone. Heading into his senior year he put on 10-15 pounds in the weight room and actually got faster. His sophomore year he was running 4.50 (40-yard dash), his junior year he ran 4.40 at the camps and his senior year most people know he ran 4.30 at both camps he went to at Alabama and Ohio State. It’s been quite a sight to see him grow in the weight room. He squatted 500 (pounds) and I cut him off from that. He might have been able to do 600 or so. He power-cleaned 340 and ended up benching 325. He definitely hits the weights.
Q: As a defensive coordinator, what does it take to stop him?
Hartsfield: On the defensive side, you’ve got to get in his way and make him change directions before he can hit his top-end gear, and that really only takes him a split second. If there’s a hole, he’s gone. His acceleration and burst through the hole is so good, and he has a nose for the end zone. In practice, the only way to really tackle him is to hit him in the legs and we’re not going to do that to our own guy. He’s just really hard to bring down, though. He’s not just an athlete who’s running the ball.
Q: What was it like watching him go through the recruiting process?
Hartsfield: We knew going into his junior year that he was a Division I back, but when you start talking about the elite of the elite, we didn’t know that going into his junior year. But that season he played his way into showing people he could be that good. Master doesn’t like recruiting at all and didn’t do the camps, which is why his recruiting ranking was what it was. He didn’t like having to call coaches and talk to them because that’s not who he is. The recruiting process just wasn’t very fun for him. We knew by spring practice of his senior year that he could play at Ohio State. The one thing I think everybody was waiting on was to see his hands and to see if he was a mean kid on the field because he’s not a mean kid at all off the field. Those top programs wanted to see if he had that switch, and that’s what coach [Urban] Meyer was waiting on.