The rumor mill was working overtime on Thursday morning, and we now have confirmation that those rumors are true: three-star cornerback Devonta Smith is de-committing from Ohio State.
As always, its tough to get a gauge on accuracy when noise begins swirling around the Twittersphere. However, rumors of Smith’s de-commitment really got legs once the 247Sports Crystal Balls began flowing in for a flip to Alabama. When trusted recruiting experts like Steve Wiltfong, Bill Kurelic and Allen Trieu, among others, began submitting high-confidence CBs for the Crimson Tide, it was clear that things were all but over.
Smith is the No. 30 CB in the 2021 class, and the No. 400 recruit in the country overall. After receiving his Ohio State offer on March 12, the Cincinnati native was quick to hop on board, with his commitment coming just four days later. At the time, Smith was one of just three defensive back pledges for the Buckeyes. However, OSU has since added a trio of four-star DBs, and the room may have just gotten a bit too crowded for his liking.
Alabama must really like what they see at Cincinnati La Salle, as just yesterday they offered Smith’s teammate and 2022 running back Gi’Bran Payne. The Crimson Tide have been a thorn in Ohio State’s side as of late, most recently earning a commitment from five-star offensive tackle JC Latham who had long been projected to the Buckeyes. Now, they have seemingly pillaged a member of Ryan Day’ class — one from in-state, nonetheless.
In terms of what this means for Ohio State, this may open the door for another potential addition to its deep class of players in the defensive secondary. The team still holds commitments from five DBs, and with an extra spot now available we could see an uptick in the pursuit of guys like Tony Grimes and Derrick Davis Jr. to potentially fill that hole.
At this point it appears to be too late to haul in Grimes, the nation’s No. 1 CB in the 2021 class. With his commitment date set for June 30, all 11 of his Crystal Ball predictions are in favor of UNC, and without the ability to get him on campus even the recruiting magic of Kerry Coombs likely wouldn’t be enough to add him to the fold. Davis, however, seems to still be deciding between Ohio State and Penn State. The nation’s No. 2 safety currently has two Crystal Balls in favor of the Nittany Lions, but the most recent FutureCast on Rivals is in favor of the Buckeyes. If Coombs really puts the pressure on, we could see the PA native end up in Columbus.
There is also always the option of flipping an already committed prospect, and a guy at the top of that list would appear to be Jordan Hancock. Currently a Clemson pledge, Hancock is the No. 6 CB and the No. 76 recruit overall in the 247Sports Composite. According to Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts, both Day and Coombs are still in contact with the Georgia native.
Especially in this weird and confusing pandemic-ridden world, de-commitments are going to happy — likely with more frequency than in your average cycle. Ohio State still holds the No. 1 class in the nation, and has a ton of time to try and bring in even more talent. The Buckeyes’ coaching staff have been working around the clock in the recruiting game, and there is no reason to doubt that they won't make this already stacked class even better before things are all said and done.