On August 27th, L’Christian “Blue” Smith committed to Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Smith is ranked the number one athlete in the class of 2018, and he is in the top 150 overall.
Comparisons have already been made between Smith and former Buckeye greats at the receiver position. Today, we will beginning a series of film study for a multitude of recruits throughout college football. Our first film study will focus on the multiple assets of L’Christian Smith.
First, let’s study the play beginning at 0:48. Smith is the receiver highlighted at the top of the screen. Look at his movement right off of the snap; he plants his right foot to the outside and cuts back in. More importantly, watch his hands. Immediately off the snap, Smith throws his hands at the defensive back. He is able to keep the back from grabbing on, while maintaining the speed in his cut. Due to this, Smith is able to quickly hit full stride and get open right off the cut.
Now, take a look at the 1:11 mark. This catch and runs exhibits the wonderful vision that Smith possesses. After the quarterback finds Smith open to the near side, he’s able to stretch this simple ten yard curl into a 30 yard gain. As soon as Smith catches the ball, he’s able to get around the defender for an already solid gain. Then, stop at the 1:19 mark. At this point, Smith has three defenders converging on him, and two defenders just ahead. Combining his vision with his speed, Smith is able to split the gap for another fifteen yards. This is something that is rare to see in a 6-6, 205lb. receiver.
At the 0:25 second mark, Smith answers the question that everyone has about a big receiver: how well are they able to get downfield? Often times, big receivers like Smith are used solely in the redzone to get those tall catches over defenders. However, receivers with both size and speed are considered the deadliest in the game of football. Watch first as Smith blows by the defensive back on a streak, then breaks numerous tackles en route to a touchdown. This kind of wide receiver play is exactly what I saw in Michael Thomas in his breakout season at Ohio State.
With fourteen seconds left, Blue Smith caught the game winning touchdown against the Firebirds. The play begins at the 1:12 mark. Despite the ball being underthrown, Smith still makes an incredible catch under pressure. What is impressive about this play is the concentration Smith maintained to be able to make the catch after it’s tipped. This is a kind of mental play that separates good and great receivers.
Finally, probably my favorite clip that I have seen from L’Christian Smith (0:29 seconds in). This play is exactly why Smith will thrive in an Urban Meyer offense. Despite being a wide receiver, not a tight end or lineman, Smith demonstrates his impressive capabilities. Smith drives the defensive back ten yards, allowing for his teammate to gain an extra fifteen. This kind of receiver blocking is something that I have not seen since Evan Spencer. The fact that Smith can add this to his already impressive resumé makes him the most complete receiver coming out of high school that I have seen in years.
For all your collegiate and professional apparel needs, check out 365 Gameday.