Five-Star CB Juju Smith Talks Buckeye Recruiting

December 16, 2013 at 11:12a    by DJ Byrnes    

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

“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?

Just some food for thought, friend.



AndyVance's picture

On the one hand, I love that these recruits seem to be taking their families into consideration as they make the most important decision of their young lives. Family support is critical to success for many young people heading off to college, and I appreciate that so many of the top recruits appear to be taking those supporters into consideration...
On the other hand, getting away from home and getting away from the cocoon of the family unit is part of what makes college such an important and life-altering experience for many of us. I left home to go to Ohio State, and even though I was only two hours up the road, it was still the first time I'd left my small town to live in a "big city." That definitely changed my worldview a bit, and when I look at other people who never leave the comfortable environs from whence they came, I can't help but wondering if their perspectives are a little stunted for never having left their own back yards.

45OH4IO's picture

It really is different for every individual. I couldn't wait to get away from my home town and gain my independence. My brother in law moved back home after one semester in the big city. He just couldnt stand being out of his normal environment.
different strokes for different folks I guess.

AndyVance's picture

Yep, great point. I knew some folks from back home who were in the same boat.

BucksfanXC's picture

I always agreed with the saying, "Happiness is having a loving, warm family...that's a two hour drive away."

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

cronimi's picture

I always agreed with the saying, "Happiness is having a loving, warm family...that's at least a two hour drive away."

FTFY  :)

AndyVance's picture

I always said that Ohio State was the perfect school for me because it was close enough to home that Dad could work on my truck if need be, but far enough from home that Mom couldn't drop by unannounced :)

sharks's picture

12 degrees in Cleveland this morning. Other than the NFL line, good luck.

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

Chise47's picture

NFL caliber talent ? Here's what you tell the kid then:
"When, if you're that fortunate, you play for money, it will be in cities like Cleveland, Chicago, Green Bay, N.Y., N.Y., Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, K.C., Baltimore, N.E., Seattle, Phila., Tenn., Washington, Carolina, Denver, & last but certainly not least, Buffalo!!! What are you going to do then son ?"

WOLFofOHIO's picture

JuJu. we are building something here. Just ask raekwon. Join us. besides..we know how to partayyyyy!


there is no greater joy than watching Michigan get slammed. in anything

Sean N's picture

Is Ken-Yon the last Buckeye from the L.B.C.?

buckeyeguy0615's picture

All I got from his video is "IT'S FUCKING OHIO STATE!!"

buckeyeboy59's picture

Sounds like us Buckeye fans are in for a ride until signing day!

njclebuckeye5's picture

I wanted to get away on my own for college, but I definitely understand the appeal of staying home for recruits, because it's different.
They're playing a sport, and want their family to watch. As just a high school athlete, I can definitely attest to how much it means to have family there to support you. I can't imagine making such a huge decision. 
It's sure tough to say no to Urban and The Ohio State University, though. 
First part was really insightful, about the alumni being everywhere and what he can do with that degree.

Lobs it to the endzone... Touchdown Devin Smith!!

AndyVance's picture

Really good point about wanting your family to be able to watch the games... If you know that it would be a financial hardship for Mom and Dad to come to more than one or two a season, that would be a big deal, no doubt.

BucksfanXC's picture

Urban Meyer's response: "You come to Ohio State, you've suddenly got 110,000 family members at every home game, I guarantee it."

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

idotter81's picture

I like this kid.  He seems to have his head on straight and doesn't just seem to say what he "supposed" to say.  If he choose to stay near his family and friends, its hard to argue with that but I like that he is thinking about what is "best for him" as a part of that process.  I can't imagine he could have a better experience anywhere on a game night than the night of the Bucks-Wiscy game  Its hard to imagine much of a better atmosphere anywhere. Good luck to you, Juju!  Hope to see you in S&G next Fall!  I think you'd be a GREAT fit to our the family.