Though Ohio State may have lost a decent chunk of their linebacking corps from 2015 with the loss of Joshua Perry and Darron Lee, the Buckeyes are looking to simply reload with Raekwon McMillan ready to take on a leadership role manning the middle. Despite already having a plethora of young linebackers on the roster, Urban Meyer and his staff turned a few heads when Tuf Borland gave a verbal pledge to Ohio State as a member of the 2016 recruiting class.
Borland's commitment was the first of a handful that came from the spring game weekend back in April. Not only was the commitment a pleasant surprise, but Borland has already been on campus since mid-January after enrolling early to Ohio State. Borland checks in at 6'2, 225 pounds as an outside linebacker. Hailing from Bolingbrook, IL, the four-star in the 247Sports Composite grades out as the 21st outside linebacker, the fourth-best player from the state of Illinois, and No. 313 nationally as things currently stand in the composite rankings.
Of course, the biggest reason why Borland's commitment came as such a surprise was that most, if not all, experts early on had projected he would end up following in the footsteps of his dad. Kyle Borland played at Wisconsin back in the day, building a decent legacy. But the younger Borland is now a Buckeye and looks to make his own mark in the Big Ten.
Even with a couple of open spots at linebacker, it's uncertain if Borland will have a serious shot at a starting spot from the beginning, if only because of the depth provided from returning players that have waited for their shot themselves. Still, as an early enrollee, Borland will get a head start on some of his future teammates and get acclimated with the college environment.
Tuf Borland is an instinctual linebacker who possesses good size (6'2, 225 pounds) and toughness. Borland gets himself into position with his instincts, his ability to read the play, his quickness and his ability to shed blockers. He is a tough, hard hitter who does the little things, which allows him to succeed. Right now he is a two-down linebacker but he could work himself into a full time ‘backer. Borland could start off as a special teams guy but he will eventually get playing time at linebacker in the future. - Christopher Jason