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How Defensive Lineman Will Smith Jr.'s Commitment Impacts Ohio State's 2023 Recruiting Class

An in-depth look at what Smith Jr. will bring to the Buckeyes both on and off the field.

Ohio State secured a commitment this evening from Dublin (Ohio) Coffman three-star defensive lineman Will Smith Jr., the son of the late, great Will Smith, who played for the Buckeyes from 2000-03.

The younger Smith is physically a different type of player than his father, as his future is likely on the interior of the defensive line, but they do share a number of the same qualities, including their passion for the game and overall motor.

Smith Jr. is quick off the ball, shows great leverage and has an explosive first step for someone with a 6-foot-3 and 260-pound frame. However, he’ll need to continue to add weight – just as he did over the course of his junior season – before he’s able to be a major contributor in the Big Ten.

It’s probably too early to project Smith Jr.’s impact on the class from a positional standpoint, though landing two or three defensive tackles on a yearly basis seems likely – specially if the staff can’t land 2022 Georgia four-star Christen Miller in the coming weeks.

That said, the Buckeyes do find themselves in good standing with several others in the 2023 cycle, with Allen, Texas, five-star David Hicks; Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola four-star Derrick LeBlanc; New Bern, N.C., four-star Keith Sampson; Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett four-star Kayden McDonald; and Atlanta Woodward Academy four-star A.J. Hoffler among those showing early interest.

2023 Dublin (Ohio) Coffman Defensive Lineman Will Smith Jr. Commits To Ohio State

Beyond the numbers, Smith Jr.’s commitment is significant in that it continues to show much of a priority the top-rated players in the state are for Ohio State and head coach Ryan Day, something that was evident from the moment he took the job.

The Buckeyes already hold a commitment from Huber Heights Wayne four-star offensive guard Joshua Padilla, and also have offers out to Findlay four-star offensive tackle Luke Montgomery, Liberty Township Lakota East four-star offensive guard Austin Siereveld and West Chester Lakota West four-star athlete Malik Hartford.

That truly seems like a solid foundation for a class that also includes Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence four-star tight end Ty Lockwood and Cocoa, Fla., four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins on a national level.

Speaking of, Smith’s commitment also gives the Buckeyes a local commit who can easily make the short trip to campus whenever big-time out-of-state prospects come to Columbus – and that’s how you start to build another highly rated class.


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