Ohio State spring football is off to a rough start.
Master Teague III appeared to suffer a leg injury on the first day Monday, and a school spokesman confirmed the running back is unavailable for the rest of spring.
A sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tenn., Teague was a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season when he ran for 789 yards and four touchdowns as the backup to J.K. Dobbins.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder was expected to get the first shot to replace Dobbins as Ohio State’s No. 1 back, but now that will likely go to Steele Chambers.
A 6-1, 220-pound redshirt freshman from Roswell, Ga., Chambers was an All-Georgia pick by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after running for over 1,500 yards as a senior for Blessed Trinity Catholic, where he also played linebacker.
The four-star recruit ran for 135 yards on 19 carries last season at Ohio State while taking advantage of a rule allowing him to play in four games without losing a season of eligibility.
With sophomore Marcus Crowley already sidelined for spring by an injury suffered late last fall, Chambers is the only scholarship full-time running back available for the Buckeyes this spring.
“We're going to get Marcus back before the season starts, and then we have Miyan (Williams) coming in,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Monday before details about Teague’s injury were known. “Once we get to the summer, we'll be whole, but yeah, we're one injury away from a little bit of a crisis right now but in the end when it comes to September we're going to be okay.”
Williams, a 5-10, 225-pound three-star prospect, is a senior at Cincinnati Winton Woods.
He was named Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year last season and finished with 5,823 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns for the Warriors in his career.
Demario McCall, a 5-9, 195-pound senior from North Ridgeville, Ohio, is still listed as a running back but was practicing with the receivers on day one of spring. He has moved between those positions since arriving in Columbus.
“Demario can still (play running back),” Day said. “We're just starting him out at slot and we can always bring him back. He has that skill set. It's something that we've always tried to find that role for him where he can be a running back and also be a matchup problem for teams like that.”
This spring the roster also includes walk-ons Xavier Johnson, junior from Cincinnati Summit Country Day, and Robert Cope, a junior from Dublin (Ohio) Jerome along with Mitch Rossi, senior from Franklin, Tenn., who has been described by offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson as a fullback or H-back-type player.
Johnson was a multi-sport standout for the Silver Knights who scored touchdowns rushing receiving and via punt, kick and interception return during his senior season.
A three-star prospect who turned down multiple Division I scholarship offers, he has been a contributor on special teams.
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Running back was already a question mark for an Ohio State team that returns star quarterback Justin Fields, multiple playmakers at receiver, a deep group of tight ends and three of five starters from an elite offensive line that helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff last season.
Ohio State’s second practice of the spring is scheduled for Wednesday.
The spring game is April 11.
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