The Hurry-Up: Four-star 2024 Defensive End Nigel Smith Loves Ohio State's Defensive Scheme and Five-star 2024 CB Charles Lester III Will Visit OSU This Weekend

By Garrick Hodge on September 19, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Nigel Smith

One of Ohio State’s highest priority 2024 defensive end targets has taken his fair share of trips to Columbus.

Four-star Texas prospect Nigel Smith’s visit to Ohio State on Sept. 3 for the season opener marked the fourth time he had been to OSU’s campus as a recruit, as he continues to build a strong bond with the Buckeyes’ coaching staff and defensive line coach Larry Johnson. 

“The atmosphere was awesome and the stadium was packed and loud the whole game,” Smith told Eleven Warriors. “(My visit) was different because this time I got to see a big-time game and what that atmosphere is like in Columbus on game day.”

His experience on this trip was a little different than his other three visits because it included him meeting one of his favorite defensive ends, former OSU standout Chase Young. 

“Coach Johnson brought Chase Young over to meet me and (Matayo Uiagalelei), so I got to talk to Chase a little bit," he said. "During warmups, coaches were bringing other NFL players up to me that I got to talk to." 

Smith, who communicates with Johnson weekly, had a film breakdown with OSU’s defensive line coach on the visit. Johnson was very pleased with the progression of the Texas standout. 

“We went over my film from the start of the season and he said it’s like night and day how much I’ve improved on all the little things he wanted me to improve on and how fast I’m playing,” Smith said. 

While Smith’s personal film evaluation went smoothly, OSU held up its end of the bargain to Smith and passed the eye test from a schematic standpoint under defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. 

“I loved it,” Smith said of OSU’s defense. “They let their D-line go out and play, not trying to 2-gap and be slow. I think I fit into the system very well and will end up being able to play like Chase Young did.”

Smith said his Notre Dame visit would likely be his last visit to OSU for a while, but plans on returning for a fifth time this summer, likely for an official visit. 

Lester III to visit for Wisconsin game

Ohio State’s recruiting visitor list for this weekend continues to add high-profile prospects. If you want a full list of expected visitors for the Wisconsin game, you can find one here, and we’ll be updating it throughout the week. 

In the meantime, one of the more highly-touted names on the list is five-star 2024 Florida cornerback Charles Lester III, who announced on social media he’ll be making the trip to Columbus. 

Ohio State was Lester III’s fourth Division I offer on Jan. 25, and he has racked up 25 Division I offers in total. His offer sheet includes Notre Dame, USC, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Penn State, Michigan State, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida State and Michigan. Lester is considered the 22nd-best prospect nationally and third-best cornerback in the nation, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. 

Keeley to take second visit to OSU this month

In case you missed it Sunday, Ohio State received some big news as 2023 five-star defensive end Keon Keeley will be making his second visit of the month to Columbus. The top edge rusher in the nation will be in attendance Saturday for the Buckeyes’ contest against the Badgers. 

Ohio State’s biggest peer recruiters in 2023 have already started their social media pitches accordingly. 

Keeley first visited OSU on Sept. 3 for the season opener against Notre Dame, the team Keeley was committed to before reopening his recruitment in August. While his last visit was an official, this one will be an unofficial, meaning the Keeley family will be coming on their own dime. 

The gesture of taking a second visit within three weeks certainly gives the impression that Ohio State is – at the very least – closing the gap between itself and Alabama, the perceived leader in Keeley’s recruitment. Keeley took an unofficial visit to Florida on Sept. 10 and plans to take an official visit to Alabama on Oct. 8.

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