[This is the 13th in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]
L’Christian “Blue” Smith came to Ohio State from Wayne High School in Dayton. He was ranked the No. 5 athlete in the 2018 recruiting class and the No. 126 player in the nation overall. Smith signed with Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Penn State, and others. As a sophomore, he caught 54 passes for 1,311 yards and 17 touchdowns in helping lead his Wayne team to the state championship game.
Blue Smith enrolled last summer and when he arrived at Ohio State, he found himself in a loaded wide receivers room. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, Smith is tailor-made for the X position. Unfortunately for him, that is also the same spot manned by Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, and Jaylen Harris.
Mack and Victor commanded the majority of the reps throughout practice and the games, at least until Mack’s season-ending injury in game eight. The injury didn’t clear a path for Smith or Harris, however, as Terry McLaurin came over from Z and performed very well.
Smith played in a game or two last season and ended up redshirting.
So Now What
Mack, Victor, and Harris all return, so the path hasn’t gotten any clearer this season for Smith. It has, however, become more comfortable.
He has now experienced an entire season of learning, and is now going through an offseason. Smith is far beyond where he was when he arrived as a true freshman, and much more prepared to contribute in 2019.
Still, having two seniors in Mack and Victor ahead of him, as well as Harris the junior, will make meaningful reps only so possible.
Wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has said that if a player shows in practice that he deserves to play, he will find reps for him. So even with a congested depth chart, if Smith makes plays in practice, then he will get an opportunity to make plays in the games.
As to what he could be capable of, Smith’s size, athleticism, and body control may make him an ideal target in the red zone.
Even if playing time is scarce this season due to the teammates in front of him, don’t get too worried because the future would still be very bright. Mack and Victor will be gone after this season and Blue Smith could provide an intriguing — and sizable — tandem with Jaylen Harris (6-5 215) down the road.