Sherwood Haydock, head coach at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Paul Harding, told BuckeyeSports.com that he met with his former running back last week and learned he will be a Buckeye when fall camp begins.
"He took two summer school courses and he told me that he got the grades he had to get and he qualifies," Haydock said. "No one else has told me that. I haven't talked to (Head coach Jim) Tressel for a while. Rod came out and watched one of our minicamp sessions and told me that things are all set."
A four-star prospect as ranked by Scout.com, Smith was viewed as a key get in OSU's class of 2010 but academic concerns derailed his enrollment. Haydock said the concern was Smith's grade-point average, which when combined with his ACT score needed to be raised a few points.
"He's been doing a great job," the coach said. "He's worked his rear end off. He's making up for a poor freshman year. If you took what he's done the last two years he would never have a problem qualifying."
Most incoming freshman at OSU report for summer courses, but Smith was still in Fort Wayne taking classes. Although fall quarter does not start until Sept. 22, an OSU spokesperson said freshman are not required to have started classes in order to begin camp with a sports team.
That means Smith, who did not enroll for the second portion of summer courses at OSU that began today, will be able to participate in fall camp with the Buckeyes before starting classes.
Speaking with reporters in late June, Tressel said Smith had not qualified to take summer courses in Columbus but added that he would be with the team August 5.
Throughout the process, Haydock said the Buckeyes have surprised him with their patience for Smith as he has worked to ensure his eligibility.
"They worked real hard to get him this year," the coach said. "They've been patient and waited. They usually don't wait for people. That told me a lot about them and that's how bad they wanted him. They said, ‘We don't want him to go to junior college – let's get him qualified."
Ranked eighth nationally at his position as a senior, Smith will have a chance to break into a crowded stable of running backs at OSU. Haydock said he feels his former athlete, who also lined up at free safety, will find a way to get on the field this fall despite his delay in arriving.
"My personal thought: it's silly not to because he has a lot of qualities that people don't realize," Haydock said. "He's an unbelievable receiver. You can not find a better back out of the backfield than him. He's very athletic.
"I think he'll play. I think they'll use him in the right spots."