College football recruiting: J.T. Tuimoloau, No. 1 prospect in Class of 2021, commits to Ohio State


The top player on the board in 2021 finally has a home. J.T. Tuimoloau, a five-star defensive lineman from Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, Washington, announced his commitment to Ohio State live Sunday on CBS Sports HQ. One of the few remaining uncommitted prospects in the 2021 class, Tuimoloau is ranked No. 1 overall by 247Sports experts and No. 3 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Tuimoloau as a late addition becomes the 22nd member of Ohio State’s 2021 recruiting class, which is ranked No. 2 overall in the 247Sports Composite team rankings. He’ll be attending a school that has produced several top-tier pass-rushers in recent seasons with Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa and Chase Young all having been selected among the top three picks in NFL Drafts since 2016.

As for the potential impact Tuimoloau could have on the Buckeyes defense, Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts explains: “In my 35 years of covering recruiting, I would call Tuimoloau and [fellow 2021 Ohio State commit Jack] Sawyer the best two defensive end recruits to ever sign with the same school in the same recruiting class.

Tuimoloau mentioned Ohio State’s history of development on the defensive line and defensive line coach Larry Johnson as a significant factor in his decision.

“Coach Johnson, man, that guy is very smart, he really knows what he’s doing,” Tuimoloau said. “Talking to him in person, you just know he knows what he’s doing. You can see it, how he’s producing. It’s kind of hard to put it in words, but he’s the kind of get who gets you there to where you want to be. He talks with you about all of the little things. He sees things you don’t see and breaks them down. There is a reason why you see a lot of his players in the league making a name for themselves. That guy is just real.”

Here’s the full scouting report from 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman, who projects Tuimoloau as a possible top 10 pick in the NFL Draft following college.

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. 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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