In the ever-changing landscape of the college football world, sometimes good things come to those who wait. At 4 PM on CBS Sports Network, J.T. Tuimoloau announced he would be attending Ohio State. The fourth-ranked ESPN college football recruit in the class of 2021, and the last unsigned five-star in the class, had drawn out his recruitment until late June. However, it was worth the wait for Buckeyes fans. Already armed with ESPN’s top-rated overall prospect, defensive end Jack Sawyer, the Buckeyes now add Tuimoloau to a defensive line group, who should become stars under defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
No. 4 College Football Recruit Commits to Ohio State
It Was A Long Wait
The pandemic really put a dent into recruiting for college coaches, and recruits themselves. The recruiting dead period was extended through last fall’s season. What this means is that a lot of the players from the class of 2021 were either unable to officially visit schools, or wait until the summer to do so. Tuimoloau did the latter, as he wanted to play basketball during his final year of high school.
The month of June was crazy for the big man, as he visited Washington on June 4th and USC the 14th. The next week, he visited Columbus, and Oregon on his way back to his home state of Washington. Tuimoloau had a scheduled visit to Alabama this past weekend, but canceled it and decided to choose between the three Pac-12 programs and Ohio State.
Ultimately, he decided he wanted to play for the coach who produced the Bosa brothers and Chase Young.
J.T. Tuimoloau: Potential Top-Five NFL Draft Pick
When you have schools like Alabama and Ohio State waiting on the last limb just for a chance to get to talk to you, it’s a good sign. Tuimoloau is definitely a potential top-10 NFL pick. He can play inside and outside very well. The top recruit also can cover running backs and bigger tight ends around the box at the next level. His scouting report is very impressive:
Powerful, athletic and nimble, with room to still add significant weight at the next level. Has lined up on the edge, mixing with hand down while also standing up. Elite pass rusher, who can mix a variety of moves with pure strength to shed his blockers. Can drop into coverage against running backs, receivers and tight ends and has the athleticism and ball skills to be a force in coverage. As he continues to add weight and strength, figures to be among the elite pass-rushers at the next level. Projects as an instant impact Power 5-starter and a Top Ten overall draft pick.
Brandon Huffman (247Sports)
Tuimoloau’s Impact This Season for Ohio State Football
Tuimoloau is the type of defensive player that has a chance to walk onto Ohio State’s campus one weekend and be ready to play at the top level the next. However, the fact that he waited for so long before announcing does not bode well for his chances early. As previously stated, Jack Sawyer, another top-ranked edge rusher, has been on campus since the spring. He’s made many good early impressions and could be in the rotation come fall. Tuimoloau’s path to playing time won’t be as clear or easy, but there’s no reason to believe he can’t play early.
Overall, this is a huge pick-up for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. Ohio State is now armed with three top-10 players from the ESPN 150.