What Tuimoloau brings to the Ohio State football team

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 9: A general view of Ohio Stadium before a game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 9, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 9: A general view of Ohio Stadium before a game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 9, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

Now that the Ohio State football team has successfully recruited J.T. Tuimoloau, what will he bring to the field?

The long, almost excruciating wait is over. Ohio State football fans are celebrating, while trolls on message boards of rival schools are crying once again with claims of cheating. J.T. Tuimoloau chose the Buckeyes. Now that his recruitment is over, just what exactly are the Buckeyes getting?

A generational talent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that description of him. He is the highest-rated defensive player the Buckeyes have landed since recruiting websites began popping up about twenty years ago. Scouts rave about his physical skills and are unanimous in their feeling he can step in and play right away at defensive end for any program in the country.

When you look at Tuimoloau’s size alone it becomes apparent why he can contribute from the start. He’s 6’4 ½”, 280 pounds. That second number is the important one to me. 280 pounds. At that size, he will not be swallowed up by offensive tackles who weigh in at over 300 pounds. Most young defensive ends are in the 240 to 255-pound range. Tuimoloau is physically ready-made to play right now.

The thing that impresses me most about Tuimoloau is his athleticism. When I watch him move he does not strike me as a kid who is 280 pounds. He played tight end on offense for his Eastside Catholic High School team and would have been highly recruited at that position.

He plays basketball on a level that would have made him a top recruit in that sport (he’ll be given the opportunity to play for OSU’s basketball team). He is very light on his feet and can MOVE. See for yourself by clicking here.

If Tuimoloau isn’t on campus already, I’m sure he will be arriving very soon. That will give Mickey Marotti about a month to put him through his grueling strength and conditioning program. Once fall camp begins, it will be time for defensive line coach Larry Johnson to work his magic.

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After his visit with the Ohio State football team, Tuimoloau said he was impressed with all of the little things Johnson spoke to him about concerning technique. How quickly he picks up on those little things, as well as the defensive scheme, will go a long way in determining just how much he’ll see the field early in the season.

So, we come to the question of where Tuimoloau may fit in a loaded defensive end group. Veterans Tyreke Smith, Zach Harrison, Tyler Friday, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste have plenty of experience. As I’ve said before, true freshman Jack Sawyer looks to be a star in the making.

The experience in the upper-classmen is a luxury for the Buckeyes. Tuimoloau will not need to be pushed into playing a lot immediately. Johnson can move him along at a pace he feels is suitable for his development.

Sawyer is already familiar with the defensive scheme, so I think you may see him on the field more than Tuimoloau early. Once Tuimoloau begins to gain steam as the season progresses, I think he’ll make it almost impossible to keep him on the sideline.

His size allows him to be moved inside. I’m not saying the Ohio State football team will move him to defensive tackle. Nooooo, what I’m thinking here is Rushmen. Pair Tuimoloau with Haskell Garrett or one of the other defensive ends and let him use that athleticism to create problems.

Edge rushers are coveted. Defensive tackles who are great pass rushers are REALLY coveted. Think Aaron Donald of the Rams here. Pressure up the middle destroys a pocket and creates havoc. This is pure conjecture on my part, but Tuimoloau’s versatility could allow for this. A devastating pass rush is the best way to help a secondary. Keep that in mind as the season approaches.

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The Buckeyes have gotten themselves a gem and now possess the two best defensive ends in the 2021 recruiting class. I usually temper my excitement about most things, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what Tuimoloau and Sawyer can do.