Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is redshirt sophomore linebacker Steele Chambers. Yesterday it was defensive end JT Tuimoloau. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.
No. 22 | Linebacker | 6-1 220 | Redshirt Sophomore | Blessed Trinity Catholic | Roswell, Georgia
How’d He Get Here
Michigan was one of the first major offers for Steele Chambers, as Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh offered him in March of 2017, prior to his junior year of high school. Offers from similar programs like Michigan State, Tennessee, and Oregon State arrived shortly thereafter. In the summer, Chambers received offers from Wisconsin, Stanford, and Central Florida. Ohio State offered in October of 2017, followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU over the next five months. Chambers visited Ohio State unofficially on March 30 of 2018, then hit up Ann Arbor the very next day. Less than three weeks later, he committed to Ohio State. Chambers was an All-State linebacker and “athlete” at Blessed Trinity Catholic in Roswell, Georgia. He rushed for over 4,500 yards in his career and made hundreds of tackles as a linebacker. He was ranked the No. 11 athlete in the 2019 class and the No. 231 player overall.
Steele Chambers spent his first two years at Ohio State as a running back, and was usually productive when given an opportunity. Last year he carried the ball nine times for 86 yards and in 2019 as a true freshman he rushed for 135 yards on 19 attempts. For his career he averaged 7.9 yards per carry. This offseason, however, he moved over to linebacker, which is something that has always been talked about as a possibility for Chambers. Even when he committed, there was talk that he would ultimately end up on defense. He obviously wanted to give running back a go, which he did, but the Buckeyes’ depth at that position is much better than the situation at linebacker. Keep in mind, OSU had to ask long-snapper Roen McCullough to play linebacker during the spring game this year.
What to Like
One of the last times the Buckeyes had a linebacker who was athletic enough to play running back was Jerome Baker, who just recently signed an extension with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Obviously, the athleticism is there. The size won’t be an issue either. He’s currently listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, which isn’t far off of what the rest of the Ohio State linebackers all weigh as they’ve dropped weight to handle faster offenses. Position moves don’t always work, and they never work if the player isn’t in favor of it. There are jobs to be won at linebacker this year and things won’t be settled until the fall. Steele Chambers has sat and watched enough football at Ohio State, so expect him to attack this summer and fall camp with a renewed energy and hunger.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
Just because the path to the field is a bit easier at linebacker doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for Steele Chambers. The Buckeyes may not have any returning starters at linebacker, but they do have veterans. The presumed move to a nickel defense has cut the number of starting linebacker spots down from three to two. The ceiling for Chambers this year isn’t all that important. This will likely be a learning year for him. He technically has four years of eligibility remaining, so Ohio State can take their time with him. If he can make it into the two-deep at a linebacker spot, that would be a pretty good sign for what he’s going to contribute in the future. Regardless, he could be a standout on special teams in kick coverage as he gets his tackling feet under him.
A versatile defense can handle any kind of offense at any time. Steele Chambers can make a defense more versatile with his athleticism. Linebackers coach Al Washington will find a spot for him this year, but it may not lead to a lot of playing time. But it will give Washington more data to work with. This year is a learning process for Chambers and for Washington as it relates to Chambers. Everybody will know a whole lot more next year. Chambers’ ability to move around makes him an interesting fit in a defense that values a wide array of skills. It could begin for him in some kind of sub-package, which could then lead to more base looks. This is a long-term move, and one that could pay off big for both the Buckeyes and Chambers down the road.