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Ohio State football: Buckeyes make the cut for NFL legend’s son

Barry Sanders (left) and Emmitt Smith attend the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City.
Barry Sanders (left) and Emmitt Smith attend the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City.

Credit: Slaven Vlasic

Credit: Slaven Vlasic

As of Monday morning, no one else had joined Clark Phillips III and Jaylen Ballard in letting the world know they plan to play for the Scarlet and Gray, but that did not come as much of a surprise to recruiting veterans who have kept up with the ever-changing world.

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"I think Clark Phillips will start the weekend off by committing to Ohio State and then do I see people committing on the visit? They usually don't do that," Bill Greene of 247Sports.com said last week. "They go home and get their edit ready, get their video ready. It's a different world now than 10 years ago. So do I think this weekend will produce some commitments? Yeah."

While the world waits for news on who is ready to join coach Ryan Day’s groups of future Buckeyes, the son of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher was among a pair of players did include Ohio State in cutting down their lists.

E.J. Smith’s top five is (in alphabetical order) Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Stanford and Texas A&M.

His father, Emmitt, ran for 18,355 yards in a pro career spent mostly with the Dallas Cowboys.

E.J. Smith is a four-star prospect and the No. 4 all-purpose back in the nation according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

Listed at 5-foot-11, 198 pounds, he is two inches taller than his famous father, who was one of the most-coveted running back prospects in the country as a senior at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Fla., in the mid-80s before starring at Florida.

Ohio State also made the cut for Joseph Johnson III when the cornerback from Colonial Heights (Va.) Life Christian Academy shared his final four.

Joining the Buckeyes are Penn State, Texas A&M and N.C. State.

Johnson, who is a three-star prospect in 247Sports Composite rankings, has visited the Aggies, Nittany Lions and Wolfpack in June after seeing Ohio State in the middle of May.

That all came after he de-committed from North Carolina.