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Film Friday: Jeremiah Smith A Complete Package At Receiver

By June 2, 2023 (3:00 pm)Football

Every Friday, Buckeye Sports Bulletin will be taking some time to break down Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2024 on film to see what each prospect brings to Columbus. Reviews will take place in the order in which prospects verbally committed to the Buckeyes.

It’s not breaking any ground to say that Jeremiah Smith is good at football. Anyone who’s ever seen the sport, and probably some that haven’t, could watch his film for a minute and come to that conclusion.

I’m not usually one to write in first person, but I’m just going to say it straight: Jeremiah Smith is the best receiver prospect I’ve seen coming out of high school. For all the elite receivers Ohio State head coach Brian Hartline has recruited and/or developed — Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming, Jameson Williams, the list goes on — to me Smith has the potential to be better than all of them.

Smith (6-3, 198), a five-star out of Opa Locka (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep, is ranked as the consensus No. 2 prospect in the country by the 247Sports composite. That’s the highest ranking for a wide receiver since 2012, when Missouri signee Dorial Green-Beckham was ranked first overall.

Let’s dive into the film and see why. To view the full video these clips were pulled from, visit here:

This clip is a showcase of many of the athletic traits that make Smith such a coveted prospect. Before the snap of the ball, or perhaps during the play, one can catch Smith’s height at 6-3 towering above opposing defensive backs. His arms dangle down close to his knees, giving him the build for an elite catch radius.

The play is a simple one, an in-route that Smith snaps off easily because his defender is playing extremely soft coverage. Smith’s run after the catch showcases why.

Oftentimes receivers with Smith’s length don’t have burning speed, but Smith does. After shedding a tackle he shreds the defense like an old file with private information, accelerating away from the opposing secondary with tremendous burst and gliding away with eye-catching top-end speed.

Athletically, there’s really nothing more you can ask for from a receiver. And that’s without discussing his leaping ability. Speaking of which:

One has to feel bad for the defensive back in this clip. Against 95 percent of wide receivers, this incredibly underthrown pass is, at the very least, broken up by his good coverage or even intercepted.

But Smith, who already has half a foot in height and far longer arms than his opponent, jumps way higher than him too, if you watch both players’ feet and hips.

And the cornerback was outclassed in terms of technique as well. Not many high schoolers can make such a picturesque high-point of a football. Smith times his aerial perfectly to snag the ball from its apex, snatching it from a foot in front of the defender’s helmet with such ease that it’s almost terrifying.

Now, speaking of technique:

The word to describe Smith’s route running is fire, because he leaves defensive backs burnt like charred toast.

Most high schoolers know what a hitch and go is, but extremely few can execute it to this level. Everything about Smith’s movement sells the hitch to the cornerback opposite him. He snaps his hips and head around, then keeps his feet churning.

Those active feet serve two purposes: to further sell the route, as it looks to the corner like he’s itching to run after the catch on a short throw; and to allow him to better accelerate out of the hitch fake into his go route up the sideline.

Results are clear from there. The defender is left spinning and Smith flies past him for a ton of separation despite having less than 35 yards of space to work with vertically pre-snap. It turns out he only needed 25, catching the ball just as he crossed the goal line.

There’s only so many clips to include in this story, but it should be mentioned that Smith’s releases against press coverage are impressive as well. He makes excellent use of fakes and is shifty enough to clear an up-close corner without much resistance.

Wrapping up with this clip, it ties all the elements discussed above together to make an immaculate highlight-reel grab.

Smith executes a great route, this time a slant-and-go, using his athleticism to separate and make a perfect high-point of an overthrown ball. Here he shows off his hands and body control as well, snaring the football with one hand as he floats his body to stay in-bounds with room to spare.

He’s simply the best receiver prospect I’ve ever seen. Don’t be surprised if he sees the field year one at Ohio State and is an All-American by year two.

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