Sooners get talented, big-framed defender in Top247 4-star Nigel Smith

Oklahoma’s addition of Top247 four-star Nigel Smith II from Melissa (Texas) High School further bolsters the Sooners’ strong 2024 defensive line haul. Smith is a top five prospect in this Oklahoma class as it stands, and the Sooners boast the No. 8 class nationally, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings.

Brent Venables and his staff will get to pair Smith with five-star David Stone as the headliners in OU’s five-player D-line class. Smith is likely personnel-versatile with the size and strength to play a true interior role, but the movement ability to play outside as a traditional three-point defensive end or even situational standing edge snaps, if desired.

Smith has helped Melissa to a 3-0 start as the Cardinals have high hopes for a long postseason later this fall. Smith recorded a strip sack in Melissa’s Week 2 63-34 win at China Spring, the THXSFB defending Class 4A Division I state champion. Here’s a closer look at what Smith brings to OU’s class, including the 247Sports scouting report below.

Hudson Standish, 247Sports national scouting analyst: “Smith’s commitment adds another blue-chipper for the Sooners on the defensive line after winning out for five-star David Stone at the end of August and coveted IDL Jayden Jackson over the summer. Smith has been one of the most impactful TXHSFB players over the last three years, leading northeast DFW suburb school Melissa from a Top 25 4A Division I program in 2021 to now the No. 1 team in 5A Division II, per Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.

“The new Oklahoma commit is one of the more technically sound interior defensive line prospects in the country and should be able to contribute early during his career in Norman due to his already refined game playing the run and pass.

“As Smith has bulked up over the course of his high school career, he’s still been able to retain the flexibility and bend he possessed as an outside edge rusher as a sophomore. While Smith isn’t as long-framed as some of the other defensive linemen in the 2024 cycle, his flexibility paired with powerful game at the line of scrimmage make him a high-floor take who could develop into an eventual NFL Draft pick.”


Strength- and power-oriented defensive playmaker who often overwhelms high school blockers. Displays above average first-step explosion. Capable of getting on top of offensive linemen quickly and getting them on their heels. Also flashes knife-through ability at times to make plays in the backfield. Encouraging redirecting suddenness for a bigger-bodied D-lineman.

Dangerous bull rusher vs. high school opponents. Will take a blocker into the quarterback if required. Also displays encouraging pursuit athleticism and range relative to size and role, including some chase-down examples. Will need to add nuance to move set, particularly as a rusher. Varying speeds and movement patterns could help raise pass-rushing ceiling. Get-off is usually twitchy but snap anticipation can improve. Taller prospect whose pad level sometimes sacrifices leverage.

Legitimate high-major defensive line prospect with a desired multi-sport background (basketball) that often reflects in on-field functional athleticism. Appears to own physical traits and on-field context to eventually become a quality P5 defender with a long-term ceiling that could lead to the NFL.

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