Wayne’s Blue Smith on freshman season at Ohio State: ‘I’ve learned more than words can say’

Freshman wide receiver will have chance to earn playing time in 2019 with departure of veteran players

Wayne High School graduate L'Christian "Blue" Smith didn't play in the game but enjoyed the postgame scene at the Big Ten Championship as much as any his Ohio State Buckeyes teammates. He wandered around the field with a championship T-shirt and towel, posing for photos on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium after Ohio State beat Northwestern 45-24 on Saturday.

“I honestly can’t explain it to you,” Smith said. “It’s a blessing. My parents are here. The guys in my class, we’ve been (at Ohio State) since the summer. This is what we’ve been working on.”

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Smith made his college debut Sept. 29 against Tulane but didn't catch a pass in his freshman season. He'll receive a redshirt and has four years of eligibility remaining. This was the first season freshmen could appear in up to four games and not lose their redshirt.

“This year has been crazy for me,” Smith said. “Freshman year is always the hardest year. It’s definitely been a blessing just being a part of this. I just wanted to do it for my older guys, and we got it done.”

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Smith knew he wouldn’t get playing time in a deep wide receiver group led by fifth-year seniors Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon.

“I expected to just be here for my teammates, just be that motivational guy on the sideline when things were down,” Smith said. “That’s what I did. I’m just proud of my guys. I love them.”

After Ohio State plays Washington in the Rose Bowl, it loses at least the three senior receivers. Juniors K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor could also decide to enter the NFL Draft. While freshman Chris Olave emerged as one of the team’s top young receivers, there will be plenty of chance for Smith to earn playing time in 2019.

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“I’m going to be ready,” Smith said.

Playing with the veteran receivers prepared him.

“I learned more than words can say,” Smith said. “The accountability, every day coming in knowing you’ve got something to work on.”

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