Date Committed: 5/5/2012
Position: Offensive Tackle
Schmidt was a true under-the-radar guy when he committed to Illinois. Schmidt will come to Illinois from Olentangy High School, which is located just outside of Columbus, Ohio. Identifying Schmidt as a potential Big Ten offensive tackle last year when he was only 245 pounds is a testimony to the keen eye of the Illinois staff, who were aware of him at Toledo as well. Olentangy has sent plenty of talent to major schools, which is why it is surprising that Schmidt went relatively unnoticed. But now at 275 pounds of good weight, Schmidt is definitely a diamond in the rough get for the Illini.
What He Brings:
Schmidt has a frame that can easily carry another 15 to 20 pounds simply because he isn't carrying a lot of bad weight right now. Usually when a player adds as much weight in an offseason as Schmidt has, a lot of it is dead weight that he will have to burn off later. Fortunately Schmidt stayed well-built and is doing the right things to have his body right for college. He's a long, rangy tackle who again has athleticism necessary for zone blocking.
What Can Improve:
Now that he has all the extra weight, Schmidt will need to learn to use it. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the same mobility he had at 245 pounds now that he's at 275 pounds. Not to mention, now teams will focus much more on him in their gameplans. Schmidt's explosion is good on the snap, but he'll still need to continue to work on his attack at the line of scrimmage to be able to ward off bigger offensive linemen as he gets used to the added weight.
What Is Unique:
Of all of the Illinois commits thus far, Schmidt made one of the fastest commitments upon receiving his offer. Both Schmidt and Bryce Douglas committed only a couple hours or less after being awarded offers from Illinois. In the days following Schmidt's commitment, he received heavy interest from schools such as North Carolina State and Pittsburgh, but Schmidt was sticking with Illinois after they stuck with him from the beginning.