Will Smith Jr. Follows in His Late Father’s Footsteps, Signs on to Play Football for Ohio State
It was an emotional, yet proud moment for the Smith family when Will Jr. signed his letter of intent to play for his late father's alma mater, Ohio State University.
A tweet from Chase Brown shared the moment that Smith Jr. put pen to paper to officially become a Buckeye.
This moment was special, not only because the four-star recruit was following his dreams of playing football at the next level, but because he was following the footsteps of his late father, Saints legend, and Ohio State alumnus Will Smith.
Will Smith was the top defensive end in his home state of New York before signing with Ohio State where he would play before being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
Smith played for the Saints for the entirety of his NFL career, helping in the "rebirth" of the region after Hurricane Katrina and bringing the first-ever Super Bowl championship to the city of New Orleans.
Tragically, Smith was shot and killed in New Orleans during an altercation after a traffic crash in 2016. His wife, Racquel—a Lafayette native and business owner who was also shot and injured in the incident—was left widowed with their two young children.
Racquel also had a stepson, Will's oldest child from a previous relationship, who lived with his mother in Ohio. Will Smith Jr. would go on to play at Coffman High School as a defensive end, the same position his father played throughout his career.
As his game (and his size) elevated, it didn't take long for people to start making comparisons between Smith Jr. and Smith Sr.
Eventually, Ohio State would be in the mix with the numerous universities who would take notice—which had to be some interesting deja vu given the fact that they recruited his dad in a similar fashion two decades ago.
At 6'3 285 lbs, Smith Jr. would ultimately commit to becoming a Buckeye.
While Smith Jr. has been committed to Ohio State for nearly a year, yesterday the magical moment became real when he officially signed with the Buckeyes while surrounded by his family.
News of the signing quickly spread throughout the Who Dat Nation, as Rod Walker pointed out that the Saints REALLY like drafting Ohio State players, hinting that it's all but inevitable that Smith Jr. will be "playing with the Saints one day."
As we congratulate Smith Jr., Racquel, and his entire family, we also remember the late Will Smith who is surely looking down at his LEGACY with that HUGE signature smile.