If there’s anything to complain about concerning Ohio State’s historic 2018 recruiting class, it would be the lack of talent in the class at the receiver position. Up until just moments ago, Ohio State held zero commitments from wide receiver recruits, and despite recent struggles in the passing game on the field, the Buckeyes really haven’t shown much interest in more than two or three pass catchers.
Today, one of the few empty positions in the class was filled, when Wayne standout L’Christian ‘Blue’ Smith committed to Ohio State, before his team kicks off against the Pine-Richmond Rams, in Gibsonia, PA. L’Christian had been planning this commitment date for months, and despite some rumors a few weeks ago, Smith committed to the Buckeyes without a hitch, roughly a year and a half after receiving an offer from Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer doesn’t offer players for fun, and he obviously sees something special in Smith. Here’s what he brings to the class.
ON THE FIELD
Ohio State’s tallest player currently on the roster is offensive lineman Kevin Feder, who checks in at a whopping 6-foot-9. Behind him, four 6-foot-7 linemen. Two more linemen and tight end Luke Farrell stand 6-foot-6. Everyone else on the team is either 6-foot-5 or shorter. Height isn’t everything in football, but for Blue Smith, his height sure does make him an impressive prospect. When Smith steps on campus next season, he’ll instantly be one of the tallest receivers on the team, next to 6-foot-5 Cleveland native Jaylen Harris. Smith, truth be told, may be even taller by the time he ends up on campus.
When it comes to wide receiver skills, there are two main things that can turn a good receiver into a great one, and neither of those skills can be taught: height, and speed. L’Christian Smith has both, in excess. Despite being one of the tallest receivers in the country, Smith isn’t very bulky (sub 200 pounds), and runs an incredible 4.4 40-time. That number may be a bit generous, but his speed is not in question, especially with the ball in his hands.
You won’t see Smith running at full speed very often, because for the most part his job at receiver is to track down the often underthrown deep-balls, which he has become very good at over the years. He’s not the most fluid route runner in the world, but his long strides and massive frame allow his to essentially box defensive backs out on inside routes, much like Bengals receiver A.J. Green does.
Smith will never be a huge run after the catch guy, but he’s unlike anyone currently on the roster, and will serve as a great target for whoever is playing quarterback in Columbus a few years down the road.
IN THE CLASS
Smith is the 17th commitment in Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class, and the first wide receiver. His commitment cements Ohio State’s first place lead over Texas even further, as the Buckeyes are now nearly 20 points ahead of MENSA member Tom Herman and offensive genius Tim Beck, along with the rest of the Longhorn staff.
Smith is only the third recruit in the class that hails from within the Buckeye state, as he joins Toledo’s Dallas Gant, and Westerville’s Jaelen Gill. Ohio State is hoping to add only a few more recruits from the Buckeye state to the class: Tyreke Smith and Jackson Carman, both of whom I currently have projected in the class when all is said and done.
When it comes to receiver recruiting in 2018, as I mentioned, Ohio State is only really looking at a few players: Smith, Missouri’s Kamryn Babb, Pennsylvania’s Jahan Dotson, and California duo Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Jalen Hall. Right now, Babb and Smith seem like the two that will be in the class come February, but if Ohio State presses, any of those three names could start to pop up far more frequently.
Smith is one of the highest potential recruits in the nation, and could be in for a huge senior season. Keep an eye on Blue this year, because he may be a 247sports top 50 player come November.