The Ohio State football team has been trying to grab the five-star defensive end for quite a while and are still the favorites to land him.
After an unofficial visit to take in an Oregon practice last weekend, the Ohio State football program is still the favorite to land defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau of Sammamish, Washington, who some feel is the nation’s top recruit.
247Sports is one of those who has him number one on their list for the 2021 class, and their panel of recruiting experts is still in agreement he will eventually choose Ohio State. Their confidence level isn’t high, but that is only because Tuimoloau has not taken any official visits.
Tuimoloau and his family are adamant they won’t be taking any official visits until after his basketball season at Eastside Catholic High School comes to an end. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association pushed back the start of all sports because of COVID, so basketball may not end for him until mid-June. He lists Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Oregon, and Washington as his top five. If he takes an official trip to all five, it could be quite a whirlwind tour.
Oregon has started to make a push for Tuimoloau. They’ve followed Washington’s lead and offered him a spot on their basketball team as well. He averages double figures in both points and rebounds. Tuimoloau has said he has a good relationship with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson and loves his history of developing players. He is also good friends with Gee Scott, Jr., a former teammate at Eastside Catholic and current Buckeye.
Tuimoloau is considered a polished pass rusher who is athletic and nimble enough to drop into coverage. Many believe, because of his size (277 pounds) and physical skills, he is ready-made to be an immediate impact player.
The question that comes to mind is will he be able to make an impact even if he does not get onto campus at his chosen school until late June or early July. The consensus is it will not matter; the guy is simply one of those rare talents.
The recruiting gurus will tell you they don’t feel the Ohio State football program has much of a lead, but it is still a lead. I’m putting my money on Ryan Day and Larry Johnson to keep that lead and add a monster talent to an already loaded defensive end group.