Three-star Defensive Tackle, Ohio State Legacy Will Smith Jr. Commits to the Buckeyes

By Garrick Hodge on January 23, 2022 at 5:44 pm
Will Smith Jr.

Did you really think he was going to go anywhere else?

From the moment Ohio State officially extended an offer to legacy three-star defensive tackle Will Smith Jr. on Jan. 14, it was only a matter of time until he committed to the Scarlet and Gray. 

What seemed inevitable became official nine days later when he gave his verbal commitment to Ryan Day and defensive line coach Larry Johnson after he made the 15-minute trek from Dublin for an unofficial visit to Ohio State on Saturday. He announced his commitment to the public on Sunday evening.

"It’s obviously something I’ve been seriously thinking about since they offered last week," Smith Jr. told Eleven Warriors. "But even before that. I wasn’t focused on them as much as I was focused on the schools that had offered me but it was always something in my mind. So when it came, it just got real and I thought a lot about it and talked it over with my mom a lot. When I had a chance to get there for a visit (Saturday) and I was able to get some questions answered and just get a better feel for the coaches and the program.

"I just left there today knowing it was home."

The Smith Jr. File

  • Class: 2023
  • Size: 6-3/260
  • Pos: Defensive tackle
  • School: Dublin Coffman (Dublin, Ohio)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★
  • Composite Rank: #540 (#71 DL)

Most Buckeye fans will remember Smith Jr.'s father well. The elder Will Smith was an Ohio State team captain and four-year letterwinner who finished his collegiate career with 167 total tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks and was selected by the Saints with the 18th pick of the first round of the NFL draft in 2004. Smith Sr., who wore No. 93 at OSU, helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2002 and was an All-American and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2003. Tragically, he was shot and killed in New Orleans in 2016.

“It means so much,” Smith Jr. told Eleven Warriors about following in his father's footsteps. “I wish he could be here to see it, but I know he would be so happy and proud.”

Pos Name Rating Rank Size School
TE TY LOCKWOOD ★★★★ #124 NATL | #9 TE 6-5 | 225 Independence (Thompson's Station, TN)
IOL JOSHUA PADILLA ★★★★ #126 NATL | #6 IOL 6-4 | 265 Wayne (Dayton, OH)
S CEDRICK HAWKINS ★★★★ #226 NATL | #20 S 6-0 | 165 Cocoa (Cocoa, FL)
DL WILL SMITH JR. ★★★ #540 NATL | #71 DL 6-3 | 260 Dublin Coffman (Dublin, OH)
Prospect Rating Data: 247Sports

Smith Jr.’s offer from the Buckeyes was made possible by his own work ethic. After attending numerous OSU camps over the summer and later attending two Buckeyes games this fall, Smith Jr. was told by Johnson he needed to bulk up before the start of his senior season if he wanted to get an OSU offer. Smith Jr. put on more than 10 pounds of muscle and now sits at 6-foot-3 and 260-pounds. 

The Dublin Coffman standout is the fourth Ohio State commit in the 2023 cycle and the second from Ohio, alongside Wayne offensive lineman Joshua Padilla. Smith Jr. is ranked as the No. 540 overall prospect in the class and the 71st-best defensive lineman, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. 

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