Skull Session: Ohio State’s Time is Now, the Buckeyes’ QB Competition Will Continue This Offseason and Brady Quinn Compares Jeremiah Smith to LeBron James

By Chase Brown on April 16, 2024 at 5:00 am
Jeremiah Smith

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Jacy Sheldon and Celeste Taylor are headed to the WNBA.

That rocks.

Have a good Tuesday.

 THE TIME IS NOW. Before Ohio State’s spring game started on Saturday, FOX analyst Joel Klatt asked Ryan Day to share the reason several of the Buckeyes veterans returned for another season in Columbus.

“To beat ‘The Team Up North’ and win a national championship,” Day answered.

The 80,012 Ohio State fans gathered in the Shoe erupted. Their thunderous applause echoed throughout the stadium, reaching reporters through the press box’s open windows. I, like the others around me, look out toward the field in awe.

Later in the afternoon, Klatt — who, I have since learned, had unprecedented access to Day for almost two hours on Saturday — asked the Ohio State head coach about the pressure to accomplish those goals in 2024, a year in which the Buckeyes will have one of the best rosters in college football.

“We’ve been a play away or a drive away from reaching our goals each year,” Day said, clearly alluding to the Buckeyes' near-misses against Clemson, Georgia and Michigan in recent years.

In 2019, Ohio State lost to Clemson, 29-23, in the College Football Playoff semifinal. The result could have been much different had officials not overturned Jeff Okudah’s forced fumble and Jordan Fuller’s subsequent touchdown return.

In 2022, Ohio State lost to Georgia, 42-41, in the College Football Playoff semifinal. The result could have been different had, one, Day let C.J. Stroud continue to cook on the final drive and, two, Noah Ruggles made his game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.

In 2023, Ohio State lost to Michigan, 30-24, in the 119th edition of The Game. That result could have been different had Kyle McCord completed his pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. over the middle as the clock approached triple zeroes in the fourth quarter.

One play away. One drive away.

As the Buckeyes look ahead to the 2024 season, however, being one play away or one drive away won’t cut it. With Ohio State’s NIL efforts at full throttle and its roster reloaded, Day and the Buckeyes are all in on beating “That Team Up North” in November and winning a national title in January.

No woulda, coulda, shoulda.

No excuses.

The time is now.

 THE COMPETITION CONTINUES. As I have mentioned before in the Skull Session, I am a fan of “Bishop and Friends,” which broadcasts from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon on 97.1 The Fan. The show has been part of ye ol’ routine since the late 2010s — when James Laurinaitis became Beau Bishop’s co-host — and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

On Monday, Bishop told his “Friends,” Mark Finch and Eric Rieser, that one moment in the spring game had “crystallized” in his brain. And no, it wasn’t Emeka Egbuka’s one-handed catch or the touchdowns Brennen Schramm, James Peoples, Sam Williams-Dixon or TC Caffey scored. Instead, it was a second-quarter pass from Will Howard to Jeremiah Smith that fell incomplete.

What stood out to Uncle Beau — and has now stood out to me — is how Day responded to Howard’s throw. The sequence went as follows:

Howard received Seth McLaughlin’s snap and dropped back to pass. He looked in Smith’s direction and saw the 6-foot-3, 215-pound target was one-on-one with Jermaine Mathews Jr. Howard threw the ball in Smith’s direction. “Watch this right here,” Day said as the pass traveled through the air. The ball fell incomplete. The announcers sighed. So did Day.

“We gotta get the ball out sooner to him there,” Day explained to Klatt, his voice full of frustration. “If you give him a chance on a 50-50 ball, it’s not 50-50. I mean, you just gotta get the ball out sooner.”

That there, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason there is still a quarterback competition coming out of spring football. Howard has been good but not good enough. At the same time, Devin Brown has been good but not good enough. But if Ohio State is to accomplish the goals stated in the first section, they need to be good enough.

Could one of them get there? Sure. 

As of Saturday afternoon, however, neither were.

 HE’S A FRESHMAN! DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN. Jeremiah Smith was the talk of the town before Ohio State’s spring game. Despite a limited performance on Saturday  — both in snaps (21) and statistics (two catches, 12 yards) — Smith remained the talk of the town during the Team Scarlet vs. Team Gray scrimmage.

The No. 1 overall prospect in the 2024 class, Smith drew praise from Ryan Day, Chip Kelly, Brian Hartline, Urban Meyer and more on the FOX broadcast. Former Notre Dame and NFL quarterback Brady Quinn also delivered a massive comparison for Smith, likening the freshman phenom to NBA superstar LeBron James.

“I don’t want this to sound like an overstatement talking about Jeremiah Smith, but I live in the South Florida area, and I had a chance to watch him play at Chaminade Madonna. It really reminded me of another guy coming out of high school: LeBron James,” Quinn said. “That’s how dominant he was. That’s how many years ahead of most young men (he is) at this age. I know what comes from that statement. But I know this young man’s gonna tear up college football.”

Oh yes, he will.

In 2023, Smith had 68 catches for 1,083 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 appearances for Chaminade Madonna. In 15 practices for the Buckeyes, he’s made Ohio State’s BIA secondary, including Denzel Burke and Caleb Downs, look downright silly.

“He’s fantastic,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said during a radio appearance on 97.1 The Fan last week. “He may be the best player on the field already. He is a really exciting guy.”

The best player on the field already?


Here are some of the other remarks that were made about Smith on Saturday:

 THE HART OF IT ALL. Remember that old photo of Julian Fleming, Marvin Harrison Jr., Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave during Ohio State’s road game against Indiana in 2021?

OSU WR Room 2021

I think FOX may have captured the 2024 version of that photo during Saturday's broadcast of the spring game.

OSU WR Room 2024

Brian Hartline needs to be studied.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Nothing Else Matters” - Metallica.

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