Ohio State secured the commitment of elite wide receiver Jeremiah Smith, the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, on National Signing Day. Smith chose the Buckeyes over late pushes from Miami and Florida State.
Lead-Up To Smith’s Decision
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Smith had been verbally committed to Ohio State since July. However, as signing day approached, both Miami and Florida State made Smith a top priority and put on full-court presses to try and flip him.
Smith took an official visit to Ohio State the weekend of December 9 and then went to Coral Gables the next weekend. The Hurricanes had put together an “in-home visit for the ages” according to 247Sports, bringing Edgerrin James, Michael Irvin, Jonathan Vilma and other program greats along with head coach Mario Cristobal.
After the visit, many recruiting insiders believed Miami had a great shot to land Smith. Ryan Day and the Buckeyes weren’t ready to give up the five-star without a fight though. Ohio State’s coaches made an in-home visit on December 18 and had several follow-up calls with Smith leading up to signing day.
Signing Ceremony Buildup
As signing day arrived, speculation continued to build around whether Smith would end up signing with the Buckeyes or a different school. There was not expected to be an announcement or ceremony, so Ohio State coaches and fans anxiously awaited the arrival of Smith’s National Letter of Intent.
Miami and Florida State remained hopeful of a signing day surprise. Oregon had also entered the mix late. Smith did not give a clear indication to any school what he had decided.
On signing day morning, Ohio State insiders became concerned as they still had not received Smith’s NLI by mid-morning. With signing ceremonies now being shown live on national television, the intrigue around where Smith would end up signing drew significant interest.
Smith indicated to Rivals that he wanted to have lunch with his mom and closest family members before privately signing and submitting his NLI. That did not make Ohio State any less anxious as the waiting game continued.
Relief For Buckeyes
Just after 12:30 PM on signing day, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was on a zoom press conference with local media members. While he was speaking, Day got word that Smith’s NLI had come across the fax machine.
When a staff member whispered the news in Day’s ear that Smith had signed, Day appeared overcome with emotion, falling to his knees with relief and joy. Video of Day’s reaction quickly went viral across social media.
“We just got news that Jeremiah Smith has signed with Ohio State. This is the No. 1 recruit in America,” Day said. “Obviously this is a huge get for the Buckeyes.”
Smith had given Miami hope of an upset right until the last moment, but ultimately submitted signed paperwork to Ohio State.
“There was a lot going on this morning, I know people were getting a little anxious about what was going to happen,” Day added. “But this is great news for Buckeye Nation getting the nation’s top-ranked player.”
What Smith Brings
In landing Smith, Ohio State adds arguably the top offensive playmaker from the entire 2024 recruiting class. Smith has been a highlight reel during his prep career at Los Angeles powerhouse Serra High School.
The 5-star receiver possesses elite athleticism and ball skills. He shows the ability to separate from defenders, tracks the deep ball very well, and routinely makes contested catches look easy. Smith is a precise route runner who understands how to leverage defenders. He has a large catch radius and consistently makes spectacular grabs.
Despite still being in high school, Smith already has the build of a college-ready receiver at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He additionally brings versatility to also make an impact out of the backfield. Smith projects to play immediately at Ohio State and handle a sizable role right away.
247Sports National Analyst Allen Trieu compared Smith to former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant:
His ability to use his size, speed and length to dominate one-on-one matchups gives him a chance to be a true No. 1 receiver who can take the top off a defense and also be a red zone threat. Smith’s run after catch skills combined with his size also calls to mind a bigger Dez Bryant when Bryant was coming out of high school.
Buckeyes Continue Historic Class
Smith became the 23rd member of Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class. He is the fifth 5-star prospect, joining quarterback Dylan Raiola, defensive linemen Damon Wilson and Jason Moore, and defensive back Jermaine Mathews.
The group of five 5-stars is the most Ohio State has ever signed in a single class. Adding the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit puts the finishing touches on arguably the greatest recruiting class in program history.
247Sports currently ranks Ohio State’s 2024 class No. 1 nationally ahead of conference rivals Penn State (No. 2) and Michigan (No. 4).
Smith joins 6 other receivers/athletes committed to the Buckeyes along with two tight ends, providing an influx of elite talent for whoever wins the quarterback battle after C.J. Stroud likely leaves following 2023. That passing attack will also benefit from what is considered the best collection of offensive line talent ever assembled in one Ohio State class.
With most of the class locked in during the early period, attention now turns to the handful of major targets remaining for Ohio State in 2024 like 5-star running back Jordan Marshall. The Buckeyes have also already gotten a head start on 2025 by landing a verbal pledge from DJ Lagway, one of the top quarterbacks in the junior class.
The commitment of Smith brought excitement from Ohio State coaches, players, recruits, and fans. Several members of Buckeye Nation weighed in on Twitter reacting to Smith sticking with the Buckeyes:
5-star QB commit Dylan Raiola: “LETS GOOOOO!!!! Welcome my brother”
5-star OL commit Luke Montgomery: “The BRO is HOME!!!! Let’s get it @SmithJeremiah!!! #GoBucks”
4-star WR commit Noah Rogers: “All gas and no brakes! #GoBucks”
Former OSU WR Terry McLaurin: “Welcome to the fam @SmithJeremiah !! 🅾️ “
Former OSU RB Ezekiel Elliott: “We got the numberhhhh oneeeeeee recruiting class in Americaaaaaa!!! #GoBucks @SmithJeremiah”
Ryan Day has taken Ohio State’s recruiting momentum to even greater heights since taking over as head coach. After finishing outside the top 10 in 2018, the Buckeyes now have the No. 1 class in back-to-back years. Jeremiah Smith picking Ohio State over flipping to Miami caps another monumental recruiting win for Day and his staff.
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