COLUMBUS – Recruiting is more than a one-year cycle as programs are well-aware of players that are two or more years away from signing their National Letters of Intent. With recruiting being such a relationship business, now is the time to get those relationships built and if you can get an early commitment out of that, all the better.

Jeremiah ‘JJ’ Smith is a tall receiver out of Opa Locka (Fla.) and the Chaminade-Madonna prospect already holds more than two-dozen offers, including one from Ohio State. The Buckeyes welcomed JJ to campus over the weekend as part of a trip by the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team to check out all things Ohio State.

Smith had already been feeling the love from the Buckeyes prior to this trip but getting to spend more time with coaches during this unofficial visit setting means the world as he continues to work towards a college decision.

“The coaches show a lot of love to me and my family,” Smith said. “Really, they just care about me, coach (Brian) Hartline, coach (Keenan Bailey), coach (Ryan) Day, they really care about me. They really want me here and they want me to be the first commitment in the 2024 class.”

With players like Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss also as part of the trip, it is easy for recruiting fans to lose sight of the younger players who are also part of the trip, but that is just fine for Smith as he has some time before he puts pen to paper.

Even with all of that, the most aware recruiting fans were already aware of everyone on the trip as students at the annual “Student Appreciation practice” brought in signs welcoming many of the bigger names to take in the practice, Smith included.

It is a lot to process but the fire for Smith really burns for being the best that can be because there was a moment in football where he was told that he was not good enough and that sticks with him.

“I just love the game of football,” Smith said. “When I was eight-years-old, I got cut from a team, so I have just been hungry since then.”

For those who pay attention to recruiting Twitter, it sounded like Smith was close to making a decision, despite being a class of 2024 player. The Buckeyes would love to have Smith in the class as a leader and have told him as much but for now it appears that things may slow down a bit.

“(There) was going to be a commitment (to a school) this week but I am going to back off until spring and then drop my top-10 schools and go from there,” Smith said.

Check out more from Smith in this exclusive video from his Ohio State visit.

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