For all the deserved praise delivered to Ohio State’s second-ranked 2018 recruiting class, the Buckeyes still had a noticeable hole when they exited the early signing period without a defensive end.
That problem got a pretty good solution on Thursday night when Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 4-star defensive end Tyreke Smith pledged to the Buckeyes at the Under Armour All-America Game. Smith is the No. 4 weakside defensive end and No. 60 overall recruit, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
What will Smith bring to the Buckeyes? Let’s take a look.
Tyreke Smith commitment impact
At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Smith gives Ohio State a defensive end with great size. He’s one of the top defensive ends in the Class of 2018 and adds another huge talent to an already loaded defensive line room at Ohio State.
He gives the Buckeyes another top 100 recruit, adding to an already ridiculous talent haul in this class. More important, he happens to play a position of need. Ohio State had to find a way to get at least one elite defensive end in this class, and Smith’s commitment accomplishes that goal. It’s also worth noting that recruiting is a zero-sum game, and Smith chose the Buckeyes over a division rival. The fact that he’ll be playing at Ohio State also means he won’t be playing for Penn State, making his pledge twice as sweet for the Buckeyes.
How Tyreke Smith fits at Ohio State
As mentioned earlier, this is a huge position of need for Ohio State. Sam Hubbard declared for the NFL draft, and Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes are out of eligibility. That takes away three of Ohio State’s six defensive ends. The Buckeyes are top-heavy enough to survive next year — especially if everyone stays healthy — but they’re widely expected to lose another player early after next season when Nick Bosa becomes draft eligible.
Smith gives Ohio State some insurance there. He’ll likely be able to get on the field in some capacity in 2018, and he should be even more developed in 2019, when Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young will likely be the only two current defensive ends still on the roster. His addition should pay off immediately in terms of depth and also in the long term where he projects to be a multiyear-starter type of player.