Ohio State verbal commit Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the country’s 10th-ranked wide receiver prospect in the Class of 2020, is set to embark on his final year of high school football.
A Rockwall (Texas) standout, Smith-Njigba committed to Ohio State last November, just days after his first visit with the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has risen up the national rankings following two huge seasons at Rockwall, collecting more than 3,000 yards receiving heading into his senior season. The talented prospect is sharing his senior campaign with Lettermen Row through a weekly journal that will focus on Smith-Njigba’s football, family and anything else on his mind as he prepares to enroll at Ohio State in January.
Our Week Two game against the Rowlett Eagles was not much of a matchup at all. We ended up beating them by a final score of 50-7. I was pulled midway through the second quarter, and it was nice for to capture the first “W,” especially after the tough way we lost the first game of the year.
A less challenging game came after a somewhat stressful week, personally. I am fortunate to be a part of this recruiting process and have a number of options. I realize many would love to be in my position, and I do not take it for granted. But the number of calls and texts and messages we receive can get overwhelming, and it sometimes makes it hard to just enjoy being a kid.
I committed to Ohio State early because the process can be draining — and I really hate talking on the phone. But that doesn’t mean recruiting has stopped.
When I visited last November, I swear I could smell the expectation of winning in the air in Columbus. It was an easy decision for me to commit that weekend. I knew that if I was going to be 16 hours away from home, the school would have to meet the criteria that my parents gave me.
I needed to choose a program that could develop me as a wide receiver and as a man. And it had to be one that I know could compete for national championships. Plus, my parents wanted it to be close to a major airport.
Ohio State definitely meets all those criteria.
It really feels like time is flying by, and my move date to Ohio is now only a little more than 100 days away. That’s crazy. It’s also stressful because major in-state programs are pressing to visit and catch games.
I know that the idea of being closer to home would appeal to most parents compared to only being able to see a few games a year, and I only get this experience once. After high school, I know everything changes and it all comes down to what I do with the chances I’ve got. I’ve had people around me that have questioned: ‘What would it hurt to take visits?’ I understand it, and I know that being away from home can be challenging.
Last week, after a conversation with Coach Ryan Day and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, some extra reassurance was given. My family realizes that my being in Ohio, so far away, is temporary. But what Ohio and Ohio State can provide for me as a player and a person is what matters most.
It was that phone call that resulted in me catching a flight bright and early Saturday morning to Columbus for last Saturday’s game against Cincinnati. I arrived about 15 minutes before kickoff and the Buckeyes pretty much did Cincinnati as we did Rowlett.
I stayed with Chris Olave and spent a lot of time with Garrett Wilson, too. I can’t wait to get back for my official visit and get to know those guys even better. My early-enrollment application process was completed this week, and it’s going to be exciting to get my acceptance letter in the mail.
I can’t wait. I’m more excited than ever to be a Buckeye.
On Friday night we play Arlington Bowie, and it’s expected to be another high-scoring game. Good luck to the Buckeyes in Indiana.
Follow along during the journey of Jaxon Smith-Njigba every week at Lettermen Row or follow the future Ohio State wide receiver on Twitter.