Ohio State quarterback saw progress in freshman receiver from Wayne
In March, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Smith had voluntarily left the program, and Smith announced in May he would join a Cincinnati roster that includes 16 area players, including Justin Harris, a freshman defensive back from Wayne.
Speaking to reporters at UC’s training camp in West Harrison, Ind., Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell indicated his former school supported Smith’s appeal for immediate eligibility.
“I'm happy for what Ohio State did for us and for Blue, really trying to help him out and make this possible,” said Fickell, a former Buckeye defensive lineman and assistant coach.
The coach referenced mental health being a factor in Smith’s decision to transfer but did not get into specifics.
“That’s a part of it,” he said. “Any time these guys are leaving and transferring, it’s not because they can’t play a lot of times. There’s a lot of other situations in there that are reasons for guys.”
A team spokesman said Fickell is not making freshmen and newcomers available for interviews at this point in the preseason.
After Wayne grad redshirted in 2018, he looks forward to breaking into 2-deep at WR in 2019. He spoke about his first season in the locker room after the Buckeyes won the Rose Bowl.
Smith was a multi-sport standout at Wayne, where he was a four-star recruit and the No. 126 player in the country according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
He caught 54 passes for 869 yards and nine touchdowns for the Warriors as a senior on the gridiron and averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game on the hardwood.
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Other Bearcats from the area are Tavion Thomas (Dunbar), Leonard Taylor (Springfield), Cole Smith (Middletown), Ryan Montgomery (Franklin), Tyler Inloes (Lebanon), Michael Kopaygorodsky (Mason), Will Adams (Mason), Jake Tewart (Lebanon), Malik Vann (Fairfield), Darius Harper (Springfield), Cody Lamb (Miamisburg), Jonathan Allen (Dunbar), Jack Campbell (Bellbrook) and Bryant Johnson II (Butler).