Cleveland Heights defensive end Tyreke Smith committed to Ohio State on Thursday during the Under Armour All-American game on ESPN2. He had actually signed during the early signing period, but wanted to wait and make his announcement public at the game.
Player: Tyreke Smith (Cleveland Heights High School/Cleveland, OH)
Position: Defensive End
Ranking: 247Sports Composite 4-Star; No. 4 weakside defensive end; No. 60 player overall
Tyreke Smith (6-3 260) has only played high school football for two years, but his size, strength and athleticism caught the attention of colleges almost immediately. Smith is also a talented high school basketball player, which is one of the reasons he isn’t enrolling early. When he does arrive, however, he will get a crash course in Larry Johnson’s style of play.
Smith is already a complete player on the high school level in that he isn’t just a pass rusher or a run stopper. He is able to do both, and do them interchangeably. He is strong enough to hold up at the point of attack, but quick enough to split double teams when on the inside. When he rushes the passer from the outside, he has the explosion to beat tackles in one-on-one situations.
Smith finished with 11 sacks and 22 quarterback pressures. He didn’t always get to the quarterback, but that never diminished the quarterback’s awareness of where Smith was at all times. He does a fantastic job of combining talent and effort in order to be a complete defensive lineman. He was a “must get” for the Buckeyes in this recruiting cycle.
For me, when I watch Tyreke Smith for any length of time, I see departed Buckeye senior Tyquan Lewis. I’ve written this a lot over the last week, but it’s just such an easy comparison to make. Neither player is necessarily the 6-foot-5 270-pound Joey Bosa prototype, but that hasn’t slowed either of them down. Like Lewis, Smith is able to maintain leverage and never really gets too high in pursuit of the football.
Every defensive lineman that ends up in college will spend the next 3-5 years working on his hands, and Smith will be no different. The drive and tenacity is already there, however, and the rest can be taught.
Tyreke Smith was a player that Ohio State had to sign for a number of reasons, but the main reason was because he can do what the Buckeye defensive line does. Larry Johnson wants his players to get upfield, and if the opponent happens to be running the ball, then don’t forget to tackle it on your way to the quarterback. The intriguing part about Smith is that as he gets older, he will be able to slide inside and help out with the Rushmen package if need be. He has played plenty of 3-4 defensive end in high school, so he is used to dealing with pass rushing from the inside. His quickness and leverage could make him very dangerous on passing downs from the inside.
Based on numbers, it looks like the future could be immediate for Smith. Currently, there will only be three true defensive ends on the roster when spring camp breaks in March. That would put Tyreke Smith right in the two-deep when he arrives in the summer. That won’t necessarily get him on the field, but it will put him in a position to get a tremendous amount of reps during fall camp. He is going to be given every opportunity to play in 2018, but ultimately it will be up to him to earn playing time. There are no doubts coming from Ohio State that it is going to happen.
Tyreke Smith Highlights
[Tyreke Smith photo courtesy 247Sports.com]