Master Teague III is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, so it prompted the question of whether Middle Tennessee State made a play for him.

He smiled because he understood. The running back from Blackman High School, 8 miles from MTSU, is one of 18 players who have committed to Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, the top-ranked class nationally according to 247Sports’ composite of the major recruiting services.

“A little bit,” was the way Teague summed up the MTSU effort, “but I figured they just thought it was a long shot. My dad went there and played football, but …”

The son didn’t just have bigger things in mind, he had them offered to him. When Master Teague III committed to Ohio State on June 11, he picked the Buckeyes over Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn and others. Since then, defending national champion Clemson has offered, but he has stuck with his choice to play for coach Urban Meyer.

“I just feel like he and the coaches will push me to be the best I can be,” Teague said in July, standing outside Ohio Stadium after an unofficial visit during the “Friday Night Lights” skills camp. “I feel like this place will better me overall as a player and a person.”

Teague did not work out that night. He had already proven himself to Ohio State coaches when he took part in one of the program’s one-day skills camps for high schoolers in June at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

He ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash, went 42.5 inches in the standing vertical leap and did a standing broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches, all superior numbers.

Get the latest Buckeye football news. Sign up for the BuckeyeXtra newsletter.

“Watching him work out that day, you could see he was a fantastic athlete,” Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said.

Teague, at 5 feet 11 and 210 pounds, was offered a scholarship by Meyer and his staff after that workout, and he committed a couple of days later.

Since then, he has made no one second-guess the Ohio State interest. Only a sprained ankle has slowed him in this, his high school senior season, causing him to miss 1 1/2 games. Yet he still was headed into a game with a crosstown rival school Friday with 559 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, including a 92-yard kickoff return. He rushed for 2,031 yards and 24 TDs as a junior.

Interestingly, however, he’s one of just two three-star members of an Ohio State 2018 class that otherwise sports four five-star prospects and 12 four stars, according to the 247Sports composite. On its own, 247Sports not only considers him to be a four-star but the third-best running back and 51st overall prospect nationally.

“Seeing him in person, our people think he has a chance to be a great player in college,” Kurelic said.

But Rivals, for example, has him as merely the 32nd best back nationally and does not have him in its top 250 overall. Rivals analyst Marc Givler said the discrepancy is due in part to Teague not participating in most of the summer camps where prospects were evaluated.

“Nothing that’s happened this season has been taken into account yet,” Givler said. “That may or may not change. … The next update is in October.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra