Master Teague didn’t receive an invite to the NFL Combine earlier this month, so he had to make up for lost time at Ohio State’s pro day last week. The running back did that and then some with his performance at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday.
Teague started the day with a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, which would have been 11th best at his position at the Combine. He then went and managed a 10’11” broad jump, which was better than any running back in Indianapolis by three inches.
“I already knew what I could do. I already knew that I could do that. So it’s not surprising,” Teague said of his board jump performance. “I know I can do it. I was trying to get 11′, but I got 10’11”. That’s still good though.”
After departing Ohio State following the 2021 season, Teague spent his time at Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney, Texas, working to improve in all facets of his game. Started by four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, the training center strives to help athletes “reach his or her full athletic potential, regardless of age, gender, limitation, sport or natural ability.”
Natural ability has never been an issue for Teague. The former four-star running back out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee demonstrated his speed and athletic prowess, earning his scholarship offer in June of 2017, prior to his senior year of high school, because of his performance at a Buckeye camp. At that time, he worked hard to get an opportunity to play for the Scarlet and Gray and succeeded.
His ability to run and jump and his strength were on display then and were again at the WHAC in front of NFL eyes on Wednesday as he hopes for another opportunity at the next level.
“I just come out here and do what I can and control what I can control,” Teague said. “I guess the teams will look at it and analyze it and figure out for themselves what they think of me. And so I can’t really dwell too much on those things but I just know that I did what I could today and will continue to work to show that I deserve an opportunity and I feel like I can help a team for sure.”
What stands in the way of the running back hearing his name called in next month’s NFL Draft is his production. In his four-year Scarlet and Gray career, Teague rushed for 1,764 yards and 11 touchdowns on 323 carries. Teague was never Ohio State’s featured back, serving as a backup or sharing the backfield with a teammate or two.
Despite playing four games in 2018, Teague redshirted his freshman season with the Buckeyes. During his second year, he was behind junior JK Dobbins but still managed 789 yards and four touchdowns. With Dobbins off to the NFL in 2020, Teague thought the door was open to take the job, but the Scarlet and Gray brought in transfer Trey Sermonwith whom he split snaps during a COVID-shortened season that saw him rush for 514 yards and eight touchdowns.
Teague impressed in fall camp leading into 2021, but redshirt freshman miyan williams was the opening-day starter and true freshman TreVeyon Henderson took over the job three games into the season and never looked back. Teague missed five games during his fourth year at Ohio State and played fewer than 20 snaps in five others, finishing the season with just 355 yards and four touchdowns.
“Of course, last year didn’t go quite the way, it didn’t go the way that I imagined it,” Teague said honestly. “Either way, I just wanted to show my character, be available whenever I could and contribute in the way that I could. It’s been a journey for sure. I felt like my sophomore year was probably the best year that I showed and I had. With COVID the next year, it was alright but I wasn’t fulfilled with that, my performance but also the limited amount of games that we played. But I think it’s just a journey.
“I had a great camp, great summer. I felt that I improved a lot and just showed personally that I was good for the job. That didn’t go that way, so it’s not in my control again. It’s up to the coaches. They saw what they saw and if they’re doing what they believe is best, I can’t fault them. If they believe that’s best then sure, but I don’t have to necessarily agree totally. But I did have an injury, had COVID. So those were some bumps in the road that I had to, unfortunately, go through. But I think the process in life, when you have to go through a process and a journey, obstacles, it just makes you better, makes you stronger and it quite honestly strengthens my faith in the Lord and lets me know that I can control what I can control.”
While he admittedly wasn’t satisfied with his playing time last season, Teague handled the situation the right way. When he wasn’t hurt, he was on the sideline ready for when his number was called. He was a good teammate, celebrating the success of those around him even when he wasn’t his own.
Teague made the decision before the end of the year that it would be his last at Ohio State. He took part in senior day festivities before the Buckeyes’ final home game of the season, indicating his intentions.
“With the situation at hand, I felt I was ready to move forward,” Teague said. “I was confident in myself. I felt I was led to do that. So coming back, that was an option. But with the situation at hand, I wasn’t sure what it would be looking like with this last year with how things went down.
“I’m grateful for being here. This is a great place and you compete with great athletes every day. The alumni’s great, schooling is great; I got a great education and I’m looking forward to that in the future.”
While he considered the possibility of transferring to another program in need of a running back in order to show what he could do on the field for one final year, Teague felt it was time to move on from college. A man of great faith, he felt the pull to go to the NFL and declared for the NFL Draft.
“Right now I’m football all day,” he said. “So that’s what I want to do and I just trust the Lord that he’s gonna put me in the position that he wants me to be.”
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As he did nearly five years ago to earn a scholarship, Teague put himself on display at Ohio State’s pro day. He showcased his speed and athletic ability, he demonstrated he could catch the ball out of the backfield and he showed he continues to work on the things that may have limited him during his time as a Buckeye.
With all 32 NFL teams represented on Wednesday, Teague once again put it all out there. While he won’t know for another month what that means for him or where his future lies, Teague is ready for what comes next.
“I don’t know what their heads are right now at least,” he said. “But all I can do is control what I can control and I did that the best way I could. Of course, you don’t reach the pinnacle. You can always go further. But today, I felt I did what I could and hopefully teams saw that and liked it and hopefully they analyze and look at it and I get an opportunity.”