Five-star Eastside Catholic defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2021, ended his recruitment with a bang on the 4th of July, giving his highly-anticipated commitment to Ohio State.
Tuimoloau picked the Buckeyes over a group of finalists consisting of Oregon, USC and local Washington. Oregon profiles as the program that gave Ohio State the biggest run for its money at the end of Tuimoloau’s recruitment, as his official visit to Eugene was a strong one.
Nonetheless, Ohio State was the 6-foot-5, 277-pound Tuimoloau’s pick.
Despite Tuimoloau’s recruitment being nothing short of a rollercoaster ride that extended all the way into June because of the 15-month-long NCAA recruiting dead period, Ohio State had been the favorite to land the Washington native for months prior to his commitment. Alabama was once thought to be a serious threat to the Buckeyes, but Tuimoloau wound up never making his official visit to Tuscaloosa, eliminating the Crimson Tide from contention.
“Coach Larry Johnson and the history he has had with putting defensive lineman in the league really sticks out to me and I have always had a close relationship with Gee Scott,” Tuiomoloau said of Ohio State, per 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman.
Tuimoloau will now enroll at Ohio State and has a chance to make an instant impact for the Buckeyes. Tuimoloau is polished as a pass rusher and run stopper. He also possesses a high football I.Q, plays with an endless motor and is a freak athlete, which made him a player any coaching staff in college football would have loved to get its hands on.
“Powerful, athletic and nimble, with room to still add significant weight at the next level,” Huffman said in his scouting report of Tuiomoloau. “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. Has even played safety.
“Could be a top tight end prospect if he focused on offense, with natural pass-catching skills, ability to track the ball and high point it and run after the catch. Also a high-major basketball player, averaging nearly a double-double in prep career. 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.”