Juju Smith is a five-star cornerback from the great city of Long Beach, where sixty degrees is "chilly" and forty degrees is "downright miserable." Juju, who has shown common sense by already eliminating Michigan from contention, lives just ten minutes from the beach. Ohio State can offer its luxurious Oval Beach, but that's not actually a beach. So how does Ohio State — where it's 22 degrees and snowing today — go after a kid like Juju? From Cleveland.com:
“I have grown up as a Southern California kid, it would be really hard for me and my family (if I left),” Smith said. “They have watched me grow since I was a baby, and they don’t want (me to leave). They want to come to my games, and I know my parents don’t have the finances to make it to all my games at Alabama or at Ohio State or these far away programs.”
But here Ohio State is, seemingly in the thick of Smith's recruitment. The Buckeyes had him in to Columbus for an official visit in late September for their 31-24 win over Wisconsin. It was a packed night game with a vibrant atmosphere, and NBA megastar LeBron James roamed the sidelines after giving Ohio State a pregame pep talk. That was the Buckeyes' best shot, and it worked.
Smith enjoyed himself so much that he hasn't been able to erase Ohio State from his head since. Now he's saying all the right things, including that the Buckeyes will still be in consideration up until National Signing Day in early February when he announces his decision. Smith has one final official visit to USC on Jan. 17, and he'll narrow his list down to three later that month.
Juju is also keen enough to realize Ohio State's alumni base spans the entire globe, including the sun-soaked Southern California area. Besides, young Juju, what was it Mark Pantoni said?
If you want to play in the NFL, you better learn to love playing in the cold #realtalk— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) November 24, 2013
Just some food for thought, friend.