It took two tries for Chris Wells of Garfield High School to guess who it was that committed to Ohio State on Sunday. But he had the position right both times.
"That helps to take a lot of pressure off my chest. He's one of the best ones in the state," Wells said. "We needed him bad in this class. We needed him real bad."
Wells wasn't totally surprised by the announcement because Smith had actually hinted his intention to him just a short while back.
"I was kind of expecting it because one day he told me, he was like ‘I'm going to be down at Ohio State with you,' and I was like ‘Yeah, hopefully,' " Wells said. "So now that he's committed I'm glad that he's there with me."
The offensive line at Ohio State should be a pretty deep unit for years to come and Smith just adds to the quality depth. At 6-5 and 300-plus pounds, Smith's nasty disposition should help him fit right in with some of the rugged veterans already on the line.
"It feels real good knowing that I have some strong, big boys to be able to run behind," Wells said. "It should be a lot of fun."
Wells has been having a lot of fun working out hard this summer in preparation for the upcoming season.
"Everything has been going real good. We just had a couple of 7-on-7's and I had a chance to go against Delone Carter of Copley and Jamal Miller of Tallmadge, a couple of pretty good running backs," he said. "And I went to see Tyrell Sutton a couple of weeks ago at his graduation party. He leaves (for Northwestern) on the 7th, the same day as my birthday."
In case you're counting, Wells will turn just 17 on the 7th of August but at 6-2 and 235 pounds, he's actually the one who physically looks like he could be heading off to college this year or even the NFL for that matter.
He's been training really hard to tone and condition his body without the guidance of his mentor Butch Reynolds this summer. Reynolds, who has moved on to become a speed and conditioning coach at Ohio State, has spent a lot of time training Wells in the past.
"It's been tough without him being here. I just don't have nobody to go out and train with on a consistent schedule," said Wells who has been working out regularly with his teammates at Garfield over the summer. "It's been real tough without Butch being here but I have to say that I'd rather have him for four more years at Ohio State than just one."
Wells has been pushing himself extra hard in order to help his team advance farther than the first round of the playoffs this year.
"I just want to take my team far, take them deep into the playoffs, deeper than last year," said Wells whose Rams lost in the first round to Copley last year. "It wasn't what we really expected or what we really wanted but it happened. So this year we just have to learn to regroup as a team and go out there and get after it. And I have to be the leader."
He hopes to lead by example. Working hard and giving it his all are his only individual goals this year.
"I really don't have any individual goals this year," Wells said. "I just want my team to go deeper into the playoffs and win our league, that's about it. I'm trying to stay away from any individual goals or accomplishments this year."
Already Wells has been recognized as being one of the top running backs in the country by Sports Illustrated and other national magazines and of course he was selected as the top-rated player in the state by Ohio High Magazine.
"I'm excited about all of that but as far as any rankings go I really don't get into that too much," Wells said. "But I'm excited about being in Sports Illustrated and ESPN and those big name magazines that everybody reads."
As the victories pile up this year, Wells knows the individual statistics and the awards to follow will take care of themselves. So he's not really concerned about any kind of let down on his part whatsoever.
"I feel like the only person that I can let down is myself," he said. "They can rank me as high as they want to but the only person that I can let down is myself as far as what I do on the field...myself and my team."
But would he like to win the state's Mr. Football award this year?
"Yeah but if I did win Mr. Football this year I wouldn't want it to say Chris Wells, I would want it to say Garfield High School," Wells said. "But I'm just thinking about the season now. I'm getting ready for week one against Hoban."
And then when the season's finally over Wells can start thinking more about running behind an offensive line with Smith on it.
"And now we have to get Aaron Brown," he said.