One of the Buckeyes’ former commits in the 2021 class has quickly found a new home.
Smith's commitment gives the Crimson Tide nine players in its 2021 class, boosting it from 178.31 total points to 190.78 points, and Nick Saban's program has now jumped from being ranked No. 25 in the class to No. 19. Alabama's average player rating, however, has dropped from 94.35 to 93.70.
Smith is the second player this month who looked like he would be winding up with the Buckeyes but is now headed to Alabama, following five-star offensive tackle JC Latham's commitment to the Tide on June 12.
Smith, who is ranked No. 400 overall, No. 30 at cornerback and No. 12 in Ohio's 2021 class, committed to the Buckeyes on March 16 as part of their red-hot run over a six-week span this spring. Other than punter Jesse Mirco, who does not yet have a recruiting ranking, Smith was the Buckeyes' lowest-rated recruit in their class, and his decommitment actually increased their average player rating in the class from 95.30 to 95.71. He earned and subsequently lost his fourth star in a two-week span in May, but he is expected to get a ratings boost into four-star territory in the near future.
The La Salle defensive star's recruitment to Ohio State came together rather quickly, as he had been disappointed in not receiving an offer from the Buckeyes by late February.
However, things quickly changed, as Kerry Coombs came calling with an offer on March 12, and an emotional Smith committed to Coombs and the Buckeyes less than 48 hours later.
“I was talking to my mom about it the day I got the offer, and I was telling her, ‘Mom, this is the chance. This is what I’ve been wanting. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Ohio State might not be my dream school, but I’ve dreamed of times like this,‘” Smith told Eleven Warriors previously. “It was just a blessing, and obviously having that chance to play for Ohio State and get developed by one of the best defensive backs coaches is too much to pass up. Plus, going to one of the most prestigious universities, just academic-wise, it’s unbelievable what the kids are doing there so it’s great.”
However, once Ohio State accepted commitments from both Andre Turrentine and Jantzen Dunn to give the Buckeyes four defensive backs in the class (Jakailin Johnson, Turrentine and Dunn), information surfaced that Smith was thinking of decommitting because of concerns of the deep defensive backs room. Once Denzel Burke committed in May, it increased the likelihood of a decommitment, and Ohio State did not attempt to put up a heavy fight to keep him in the class.
Love it cant wait to see you in the playoffs https://t.co/h0lFmXZ01t— Jaylen.Johnson (@JaylenJohnson21) June 29, 2020
As Smith said in the above statement, despite being an in-state prospect, his dream school was not necessarily Ohio State. In talking with us about his offer from Alabama in February, Smith said, “It was very impactful because it was a dream school of mine. I actually talked to Nick Saban, which was very mind-blowing and something I’m grateful for.”
Smith's best friend and La Salle teammate, Ohio State safety/linebacker commit Jaylen Johnson, had been looking forward to teaming up with Smith in college once again, as was Smith. But Johnson told Eleven Warriors that he is, of course, still rooting for Smith in the future.
“I've (known about) his decision,” Johnson said. “Just hope he makes the best out of it.”