Five-star DE J.T. Tuimoloau goes wire to wire as 247Sports' No. 1 recruit

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Five-star Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau was named the No. 1 recruit in 247Sports’ inaugural Top 100 class of 2021 rankings released in Aug. 2018.

Nearly 30 months later, he is still No. 1.

247Sports released what would normally be its final Top247 rankings of the 2021 cycle Wednesday afternoon, with Tuimoloau still sitting at the top. The Top247 could still see some movement with states across the country set to play their high school football seasons in the spring, but Tuimoloau’s spot as the top dog is solidified at this point in time — a feat that has not been accomplished since Robert Nkemdiche in the class of 2013.

Tuimoloau did not sign with a college during the Early Signing Period and is set to pick between a group of five finalists consisting of Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, USC and Washington.

Washington was the first school to offer Tuimoloau in early in his star-studded recruitment. The Huskies have pulled some big commitments out of their own backyard in recent years, but Ohio State seems to have a slight advantage over the field when it comes to securing Tuimoloau’s services, as his 247Sports Crystal Ball currently reads heavily in favor of the Buckeyes.

“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.

Wherever he winds up, Tuiomoloau will ascend to the college ranks with the chance to make an instant impact. Originally the top recruit in the class of 2021, Tuiomoloau 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, making him a prospect any coaching staff around the country would love to get their 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.”

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