Smith's Status In Limbo As School Ends

Ohio State secured one of the nation's top running back prospects when Roderick Smith signed for the Buckeyes, but the four-star prospect still has academic work to do before he can enroll for summer classes. has the full story on Smith's situation.

June 7 will be one of those red-letter days for Roderick Smith.

That is the date of Smith's final day of class at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Paul Harding, and shortly thereafter the four-star running back prospect should know whether he has raised his grades enough to gain admission at Ohio State.

According to head coach Sherwood Haydock, final grades will then be submitted the following day and Smith's grade-point average will be calculated. Only then will he know if he will be joining the rest of OSU's class of 2010 in late June to start summer workouts and classes.

The goal for Smith is a higher GPA, his coach said.

"His test score is high enough that if he gets a couple grades up high enough right now then he's OK," Haydock told "He has a test score that will qualify if his GPA comes up just a little bit."

Haydock said he set a goal for Smith: all B's or higher for this quarter. Achieving that goal would put the running back ahead of the minimum grades necessary to pass admissions. With a week and a half left in the year, Haydock said Smith is not quite at that level.

Once the grades are in, Haydock said he will get in touch with OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel to see if Smith will qualify.

"He's not accomplishing (all B's), but he's pretty close," Haydock said. "If he doesn't make a B in every class, I have to find out what he made to see if he qualifies. The goals I set for him are a little higher than he needed."

As a four-year varsity starter, Smith totaled 6,620 yards – the eighth-best total in state history. He has been compared to former OSU running back Chris "Beanie" Wells, a bruising tailback who now suits up for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

Asked about that comparison on National Signing Day, Tressel said, "He's 6-3, 200, so he's a big guy and he's a fast guy. I think that he has good ball skills. To compare him to Beanie, a first-round draft choice, I need a little more time. Give me about a year and we'll try to make that comparison but he starts with similar physical attributes."

According to Haydock, Smith has had no shortage of help as he has worked to improve his academic standing.

"He has individual tutors and the teachers stay late for him," the coach said. "The good thing about our staff is they're not going to give him anything but they will stay and work with him after school for whatever time he needs. He is getting a lot of individual tutoring and we have tutoring clubs and we have after-school study tables.

"He's been busy. He hasn't been goofing off, that's for sure."

In addition, Smith opted not to run track this season so he could better focus on his grades.

Tressel visited the school twice during the past month and has been in contact regarding Smith's academic standing. During spring football, the Buckeye coach told reporters he felt good about Smith joining the team this summer.

"He's finishing his academic year, making sure he's on top of his studies and everything," he said April 8. "We're excited about the progress he's making. He's doing good. Rod hit the test good so we feel good about it."

Haydock said the possibility of Smith having to attend prep school has been mentioned but not discussed in any great detail.

"I think they do have a plan," Haydock said. "I just don't know it yet. I don't think we want to put a jinx on anything – let's just let him qualify normally.

"He knows what it means to be a Buckeye. He's pressured but he works on it all the time so I think he's handling it OK. We think it's all going to work out. We're crossing our fingers."

So, too, will be Buckeye fans.

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