Ohio State has once again added a highly-touted wide receiver to its future recruiting class.
Five-star 2024 Florida prospect Jeremiah Smith gave Brian Hartline and Ohio State another massive recruiting win when he committed to the Buckeyes on Wednesday. The Buckeyes now have the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked prospects nationally in 2024 committed as the talented Florida prospect will join five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola in Columbus.
— Jeremiah Smith (@Jermiah_Smith1) December 14, 2022
To learn more about what makes Smith such a highly-touted prospect, we reached out to his high school coach, Dameon Jones. Chaminade-Madonna capped an undefeated season this year at 13-0 with a state championship, the program’s second consecutive state title. Jones discussed Smith’s commitment to Ohio State, his best attributes as a player, the one-handed catch making the rounds on social media from the state championship and more.
The interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity.
Q: How nice was it to see Jeremiah commit to Ohio State Wednesday and wrap up his process relatively early?
Dameon Jones: Seeing Jeremiah go ahead and commit and get it over with, some of these high school kids, it’s a lot. I think he was just ready to go ahead and get it over with.
Q: What do you think was the biggest factor in why he ultimately decided to commit to Ohio State?
Jones: He’s been up there a few times, and he’s liked it. The coaching staff and the school just put out a good product.
Q: You hear Jeremiah described by some as the best wide receiver prospect in high school, regardless of class. You’ve seen him up close almost more than anyone. What do you think makes him so special?
Jones: What makes him special is he’s a humble kid. What I mean by that is some kids will become prima donnas, where a kid will get mad and sit out practice. But Jeremiah is constantly working and constantly trying to get better and trying to improve. You can’t say that about everybody, man. But he loves ball, and he’s competitive. He wants to be the best.
Q: When do you think was the first time you watched Jeremiah where you knew he was going to be special one day?
Jones: In the seventh grade at a wide receiver training camp. I knew right then he was going to be special. The stuff he was doing as a seventh grader, you don’t see high school kids doing. His catch radius and route running, the ins and outs, bending of the hips, stuff that kids just don’t know at that age.
Q: I want to bring up the recent state title game you won. Jeremiah’s one-handed catch for a touchdown made the rounds on social media because it was a highlight-worthy catch. What was your reaction when you first saw it?
Ohio State picks up a commitment from No. 2 player in the 2024 class, Jeremiah Smith.
Brian Hartline continues to dominate the recruiting world. pic.twitter.com/nN8tstdH7u
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecessaryRoughness) December 14, 2022
Jones: Well, they do it every day in practice. Every day. They have this drill that they warm up with. That’s all they do to start, is one-handed stuff. It’s a legit drill where they concentrate with their eyes and ball placement.
Q: So for you, I guess when you see that kind of catch happen, it’s just like another Tuesday in practice.
Jones: Yes. Everybody else was like, ‘Woah.’ Personally, I see that every day.
Q: Well, you have to know to the average eye who hasn’t been around him every day that it’s unprecedented to them that he’s able to do this every day that ends in y, right?
Jones: Absolutely. He and Joshisa Trader, they’re both able to do it. It’s just freakish.
Q: After he committed, Jeremiah said he was already working on getting Joshisa to Columbus with him. To your knowledge, have they ever talked about playing at the collegiate level together?
Jones: I’m not sure. They probably talk about it all the time.
Q: It may be hard because he does so many things well, but what’s Jeremiah’s best individual asset as a player?
Jones: His competitiveness. His will not lose. I think that’s big in any kid at any position.
Q: When you watch his film, it truly looks like he doesn’t have a weakness. But if you had to pinpoint one area where you think he could improve at the next level, what’s the area you think he could improve a little bit?
Jones: Honestly, I don’t know. He’s … He’s different. I’ve been coaching for a long time. He’s special.
Q: Is he the best receiver you’ve ever coached?
Jones: Man, you’re gonna get me in trouble with some of my NFL guys. But ooh, he’s definitely in the top two.
Q: Jeremiah is close with both Ohio State commits Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate. How much of an impact do you think they had on his decision to come to Ohio State?
Jones: I’m sure they had conversations about it just being kids and all that. I’m sure they had some type of influence.
Q: Brian Hartline has become famous in recruiting circles for all his success over the past few years. What’s been your experience in dealing with Hartline?
Jones: Just being a relatable guy to the kids. He’s always straight up with them. Also, you have to think about it. It’s a little bit different. He’s a guy that’s played in the league, and now he’s coaching guys to the league. So that’s what players want to play for.
Q: While I’ve got you here, I just wanted to briefly ask about your former players, Ryan Turner and Kenyatta Jackson Jr., who just completed their freshman seasons at Ohio State. What college careers do you envision both of them having?
Jones: I think the redshirt year is great to come into college and get adjusted to everything and the playbook. Plus, you understand ‘This dude’s in front of me,’ so you wait your turn. I think they’re going to end up blossoming in that program.