Better Know a Buckeye: Erick Smith

By Vico on June 26, 2014 at 11:00a
Erick Smith stretches at a Friday Night Lights camp in 2013.

The 20th and 21st installments of the Better Know a Buckeye series will profile two Tarblooders who selected themselves into Ohio State's recruiting class in usual Glenville fashion. Since he committed to Ohio State before his teammate, Erick Smith's feature comes first.

The recruitment of Smith, a safety prospect, mirrors the recruitment of Marshon Lattimore to be profiled next week. It also conforms well with Marcelys Jones, the first recruitment of the class. The only differences were Jones' early commitment and Jones' additional interest in Kentucky. All three took almost the same visits and considered the same programs. Minus some huff and puff about the Kentucky Wildcats, fanned largely by Kentucky fans who had next to zero clue on how Glenville recruitments typically unfold, Alabama was the major competition for Ohio State in the recruitment of both Lattimore and Smith.

I discuss Smith's recruitment in general terms before discussing his commitment to Ohio State during the U.S. Army All-American Game. Next, I provide strengths and areas for improvement for Smith as he projects to a safety at the next level. I offer film and conjecture about a possible redshirt in 2014, later concluding with miscellaneous things about Erick Smith you may find interesting.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 195
High School: Glenville High School; Cleveland

His Recruitment

Smith had already visited Ohio State for its 2012 game against Nebraska when he visited again in the middle of January 2013. This one resulted in a scholarship offer shortly thereafter. Smith later assembled a respectable slate of offers, including Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, among many others.

Smith was part of a southern push by the Glenville trio that included Alabama. It was Alabama that was seen as the primary competition for Ohio State, even though Smith had said he would like to attend college at Ohio State. In February, Smith said he would visit Alabama, which latter happened in July 2013. He was given a verbal scholarship offer shortly after saying he would visit in the summer.

Smith, along with teammates Marcelys Jones and Marshon Lattimore, made a trip through the South in July 2013. The visits included Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Smith had the following to say about Alabama.

"It was great, it was just like how everybody said it would be," said Smith of Alabama. "The campus was nice; the coaching staff was cool and real down to earth. As soon as you get to campus you can tell they have a dominating team because they have some huge dudes." 

Smith worked out in front of Alabama head coach Nick Saban and was told that he was a priority recruit for the Crimson Tide. 

"He talked to me about playing early if I were to come in," Smith said. "It doesn't matter that I'm from Ohio, they still would love to have me down there and they told me to not be scared about making that trip down South." 

Smith was reticent to name leaders during his recruitment, a common tactic for Tarblooders. He did say that Alabama was a sure pick for an official visit in the coming fall. Ohio State would be the other. He did not know if and when to schedule official visits to Kentucky and Tennessee. Official visits to Kentucky and Tennessee never materialized.

The official visit to Alabama came for the game against Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Glenville trio that made the trip said little of the visit. The immediate comments were provided by a Glenville assistant coach. He said that all three liked the visit but the visit itself was little more than making good on a promise from the first trip in July. Smith later said he thought the visit went well but that it was cut short by a flight delay arriving in Alabama.

The next official visit Smith took with his teammates was to Georgia Tech in the middle of the second week of December. To be honest, nothing I could discern was said of the visit and no reason was given for the interest in Georgia Tech. The only comments I gathered talked about visiting downtown Atlanta.

Smith made his official visit to Ohio State a few days later though said nothing of it. He had taken an unofficial visit to Ohio State in September as well and was at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp in the summer.

Despite saying he had some hesitation regarding whether he wanted to commit to a college during the U.S. Army All-American Game, he executed his plan on January 4th of this year. An in-home visit from Nick Saban days before Smith's official visit to Ohio State was unlikely to have any effect.

His Commitment

Erick Smith committed to Ohio State in a hat selection ceremony during the second quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Game. When pressed on the spot for why, Smith said he and Marshon Lattimore had discussed playing together at the same school and there would be no better place to do that then close to home in the Buckeye State.

After teasing where Lattimore would commit later in that same exhibition game, Smith expanded on why he chose Ohio State in a feature with

"Ohio State is like a home away from home," said Smith on his decision. "It's the place that I always wanted to go, I just wanted to experience the full recruiting process. I always had my eyes on Ohio State." 

The hats on the table for the commitment ceremony included hats of Alabama, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, and Michigan. Alabama and Georgia Tech were the other official visits. Kentucky may have been smoke and mirrors on Smith's part since Kentucky was a bigger factor in Marcelys Jones' recruitment.

Michigan was host for two unofficial visits in July and September and, along with Michigan State, was cited as a reason he could delay his scheduled announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Game. The primary competition was likely Alabama.

Where He Excels

That Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith wanted to play together at the next level conforms well to how identical they appeared on film for Glenville. Both were play-makers and both played multiple positions for Glenville on both sides of the ball. Smith was mostly a cornerback who projects to safety at Ohio State. Lattimore was mostly a wide receiver who projects, and wishes to play, cornerback at Ohio State.

Smith's size is well-suited for a safety position that would ask him to be a run-stopper. High school prospects vying for major college offers as defensive backs have to be adept at stopping the run. Smith certainly is. He shows a great backpedal and stutter-step, an ability to change course and make a play on the ball when it comes to him. He is a good combination of instinctive and quick to react. A coach would want him at safety for his ability to see the field.

He's also a hitter. These are always welcome at Ohio State.

Must Work On

Smith projects to safety probably because a concern of his frame. It is likely that adding more weight will slow him down a bit, necessitating a move from cornerback to safety. For all Smith has shown on film, "speed" was not something that was apparent to the average viewer.

For what it's worth, I think he's also shown a tendency to take bad angles to the football. The hope is this gets corrected as he matures in the program.


I think Ohio State could afford to redshirt Smith if the coaches wanted. However, graduation at the position and the departure of Jayme Thompson makes it likely Smith sees some kind of playing time in 2014.




Comments Show All Comments

BierStube's picture

Look forward to seeing this young man in Buckeye uniform for many years to come.

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Like this kid's "it" in I think he's going to be knocking the out of opponents in the very near future.

+4 HS
gm3jones's picture

spit? :-)

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+2 HS
Buckeye Knight's picture

An exciting class.  Smith really impressed at the Army All-Am game!

+2 HS
scottyp_330's picture

I definitely see a young Donte Whitner.

+4 HS
vwhiegs57's picture

Erick Smith is the one i'm most excited to watch play out of the Dream14!! Kid seems tough!!

cinserious's picture

Didn't like hearing about the 'takes bad angles' (bad memories) part but if that's the only knock on him, I'm sure Ashe and Coombs will have that ironed out well before he actually sees the field as a safety.

In the meantime, get him in there to crush some bones on special teams as a true freshman!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

NeilAve's picture

I didn't understand that Saban had that much interest in him. I don't doubt our coaching staff when it comes to recruiting, but it's always nice to have someone like Saban chasing the same player... especially when we win! Excited to see this kid play.

JohnnyKozmo's picture

Agreed here-say what you want to about Saban, but he has been pumping out some NFL caliber safeties the last few years.  If he sees Smith as that type of talent, he could end up being a very good get for the Buckeyes.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

Barnsey69's picture

Love safeties...especially clock-cleaners like this kid. 

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

allinosu's picture

Why would a coach point out about it doesn't matter where you are from like it's the arm pit if America? Bad manners and poor choice of words from a supposedly smart coach.

+3 HS
sharks's picture

Bassdropper played those hillbillies all damn day.  That linked article just proved it.

A man got to have a code...

+2 HS
m5987usus's picture

He is going to be one helluva ball player for Ohio State.


Bags5150's picture

I got to spend some time with him at the Border Classic and he is genuinely a very good kid.  Polite, was great with the kids looking for autographs and the coaches loved him.  Definitely looks like he could add a few pounds.  He had the biggest hit by far in the Border Classic, leveling a kid from *ichigan with a huge pop that I could hear 30 yards downfield.  Can't wait to see him in S&G!

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

+1 HS
USMC11917's picture

"It doesn't matter that I'm from Ohio, they still would love to have me down there and they told me to not be scared about making that trip down South."

This right here would turn me off and make me want to play that team (and coach) in a future game.

+1 HS
sivaDavis's picture

They are both going to be outstanding players, but I think at the end of both his and Shon's careers, Smith will be the better player.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

theopulas's picture

this is the type of safety of the future....big receiver that is fast enough and can catch and that likes to hit and that has quick instincts....everything else will be taught...after a year in this program someone will have to make room.....


chirobuck's picture

two words: future star



or if you prefer: all american


^ best post ever ^

avail31678's picture

Instinctive and quick to react.  And a hitter.

Yes please!   

Max Power's picture

Another big hitting DB from Glenville. Theres another former safety hailing from there that workes out quite well for usn I think alot of people, myself included, took Donte Whitner for granted when he played for OSU. Ill be sure not to make the same mistake with Smith. Cant wait to watch this kid!

Nutty's picture

It certainly helps also that UK currently has the #1 recruiting class in the country according to

Umm, was that ever true? If so, life as I've known it has just been turned upside down.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Buckeyes around the campfire, everyone's talkin' about Glenville Hiiiiiiigh ... Glenville Hiiigh in Ohio ...

Man that school turns out great football players.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes