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Fact or Fiction: No. 1 receiver Jeremiah Smith will stick with Ohio State

National recruiting analyst John Garcia Jr. is joined by national recruiting director Adam Gorney, Jeremy Birmingham of and Charles Fishbein of as they tackle three topics and determine whether each topic is FACT or FICTION.

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1. Brian Hartline looks like he's staying at Ohio State. That means Jeremiah Smith will stick with the Buckeyes. 

Jeremiah Smith
Jeremiah Smith (Robson Lopes)

Birmingham's take: FACT. Despite months and months of concerns, rumors, visits to other schools, etc., the story in the recruitment of Jeremiah Smith has not really changed: if Brian Hartline and Ryan Day are at Ohio State in the 2024 season Smith is likely to sign with the Buckeyes. That still feels like the case, even with Justin Scott's flip to Miami. It’s not easy to ignore all of the noise about other schools, but behind the scenes nothing has changed between Smith and Ohio State. Yes, Florida State has made things interesting of late, but barring a significant personnel change in Columbus the odds are still in the Buckeyes’ favor.

Garcia's take: FACT. The top recruit has said all along that if nothing major changes between his primary option in Ohio State he'll enroll there come January. Now, the in-state trio of Miami, Florida and Florida State have been receiving due diligence all season long and each certainly has a pitch: Miami wants him to complete the "stay local" theme for top talent under Mario Cristobal, Florida is trying to pair him with DJ Lagway to rebuild the program and Florida State wants him to pick up where the undefeated 2023 team left off. Sources in south Florida say FSU has been the top threat but Miami just won't go away.



2. Clemson apparently becoming more involved in the transfer portal is the first sign of the program potentially taking back the ACC.

Gorney's take: FICTION. Clemson can take back the ACC without going to the portal, and it still looks like that will be the plan. Yeah, maybe some very targeted portal offers will go out that could provide immediate help to the Tigers, but coach Dabo Swinney is not materially changing the way he recruits and he's not going to get into numerous bidding wars for players. Whether that's wise or not can be left up for debate, but Clemson is still recruiting at an elite level, it's still developing players at a high level and my suspicion is that the Tigers are not going to be going to the portal much for players and they could still regularly compete for ACC titles.

Garcia's take: FACT. Dabo is doing things differently after the bummer 2023 campaign. Assistant coaches have been fired, the portal appears to be in play and - as usual - the high school recruiting class is rock solid relative to the ACC, where it has the highest star rating per verbal commitment going into the month of December. So, if the portal players can create the balance from the lower prep numbers (something that has slowed Clemson from a depth perspective of late), it could be the type of formula that gets the Tigers back on track. In 2024, they'll also return their QB1 in Cade Klubnik, something this season's conference's title game participants can't say. It will take more firepower and strong hires but the culture in that town is all but set. Expect a bounce-back sooner rather than later here.



3. Florida State will finish with the nation's top secondary class come National Signing Day.

KJ Bolden
KJ Bolden

Fishbein's take: FACT. Florida State landed arguably the top safety in the country in KJ Bolden. He is at the same level as a Derwin James, who went on to have a great career and ended up being a first-round NFL Draft pick. The Seminoles have Charles Lester at CB, and he is a top-five player at his position. I project Lawayne McCoy as a corner prospect and a very good one. Jamari Howard is a versatile player who can line up at either safety or corner, and Ricky Knight is the forgotten man. He will end up a very good slot corner. He loves to come up and tackle. Landing Cai Bates Friday could help this could go down as an all-time great DB class at FSU, and that is saying something.

Garcia's take: FACT. It may already be clinched, to be honest. The Seminoles' haul has a bit of everything. Bolden is the headliner and Mr. Do Everything for the class, to the point it would be a surprise if he didn't make an instant impact. The other members all project as versatile cover players with legitimate length and speed, not to mention ball skills, as nearly all of them not only play - but excel - as prep level wide receivers. Lester has the raw skills to become one of the better secondary prospects to come out of this class and he would present as the top guy for just about every other program in the class. As Fish said, landing Bates, who fits all the molds already discussed among the bunch, has the expectation for the group would hit as high a level as anyone could remember.