Brother of Ohio State football star Jaxon Smith-Njigba set to make MLB debut with Pirates

Joe Harrington
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba is expected to be among the top NFL draft prospects next season. Some even have Ohio State's record-breaking receiver as the first receiver taken in the 2023 NFL draft. 

But he won't beat his brother to the big leagues. 

Smith-Njigba's older brother Canaan Smith-Njigba is likely to make his Major League Baseball debut this week for the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to reports, the Pirates, who entered the week in third place in the National League Central standings with a 24-34 record, are calling up the 23-year-old outfielder. 

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Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) runs past defensive end Jack Sawyer (33) during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.

Canaan Smith-Njigba was a star at Rockwall-Heath High School in the Dallas, Texas, area, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba attended Rockwall High School. 

Here's what we know about Canaan Smith-Njigba.

Canaan Smith-Njigba is a Pirates top prospect

Canaan Smith-Njigba is the No. 21-ranked Pirates prospect by this year. He was batting .277 with 15 doubles and 51 hits in 52 games in Triple-A this season.

Canaan Smith-Njigba just played the Columbus Clippers

Canaan Smith-Njigba went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a triple on June 11 against the Columbus Clippers. Indianapolis won 12-7. The Clippers won Sunday 11-5. 

Canaan Smith-Njigba was committed to Arkansas to play baseball

Canaan Smith-Njigba was headed to Arkansas to play baseball, but after a standout senior year in 2017, he chose to sign an MLB contract after being drafted. 

Canaan Smith-Njigba was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2017

Canaan Smith-Njigba was the 122nd pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. The fourth-round selection was taken by the New York Yankees. 

He spent three years in the Yankees' minor league organization, reaching Single High-A.

Canaan Smith-Njigba was traded to the Pirates for Jameson Taillon 

The Yankees traded Canaan Smith-Njigba along with Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras and Maikol Escotto to the Pirates for Jameson Taillon

He played in Double-A and Triple-A last season. 

Did Jaxon Smith-Njigba play baseball in high school?

Jaxon Smith-Njigba was one of the top football recruits in the state of Texas in the class of 2020.

He was an Army All-American, the Texas Class 6A (the largest class in Texas) Player of the Year and was a unanimous top-five recruit in the football-rich state of Texas. 

But he did not play baseball like his brother in high school. 

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