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Buckeyes still trying to cap off 2021 class with the finishing touches

Can Ohio State find a way to seal the deal with their top remaining target?

As you’re reading this, just know it is now down to single digit days away from Ohio State’s first football game in the long awaited 2020 season. The fact that in a little over a week the Buckeyes will be taking the field against Nebraska feels like an impossible feat with all that has gone on to this point, but nevertheless the waiting is almost over.

With a loaded roster and incredible staff, the expectations are as high as they can be once again for this season. On the recruiting front too, Ohio State’s expectations to be the best are one of the key reasons why this year and for years to come, the standard in Columbus is gold.

Another update on OSU’s top remaining target

As everyone who follows Ohio State recruiting knows, the Buckeyes 2021 class is truly loaded. While this class would and should be enough for just about anyone, Ryan Day and his crew aren’t content with calling it a day just yet. With still a couple spots open and left up for grabs, the Buckeyes know exactly who they want.

Chasing after J.T. Tuimoloau, the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, for what seems like a decade now, the Buckeyes have been right at the top of his list since the beginning. Thanks to the track record at Ohio State, and specifically how Larry Johnson prepares his guys for the NFL, the Buckeyes have long been thought to be the leader for Tuimoloau.

Because of COVID-19 and the inability for the Washington native to see Ohio State’s campus, this recruitment will likely go until the latest possible moment. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they have been the one common player through it all. The current commits in the 2021 class would love nothing more than for Tuimoloau to attend their “Buckeye Bash” next weekend, but due to distance, that doesn’t look like it will be too likely to happen.

They will certainly keep trying, as will Ohio State’s staff, to stay in the thick of things, but the latest development here is that the Buckeyes will have to fend off likely one other school until the end of this recruitment.

Ohio State certainly isn’t out of the woods yet with Tuimoloau, and it seems it is now between they and Alabama as the two programs vying for his services the most this late in the game. What the Buckeyes have going for them is the ability to tout coach Johnson and his impressive resume, as well as their strong relationship with him and how long it has been building.

An interesting point to take note of is that Tuimoloau has in fact been to Alabama to see what the Crimson Tide have to offer. On the flipside, while he has not yet been to Columbus, Tuimoloau is still viewed as a heavy Ohio State lean per the 247Sports Crystal Ball. With Washington and USC as two other programs that were in this recruitment, it really now does look to be a two-horse race with Ohio State and Alabama.

Ryan Day and Larry Johnson will be on this one heavy, and it really gives you the sense that the next great Ohio State five-star defensive-end will end up in Columbus.

Big honor for Ballard

It’s not solely on the field — the Buckeyes and their 2021 commits seemingly shine off the field as well. Yesterday yet another Ohio State pledge in Jayden Ballard received his 2021 All-American Bowl jersey, which will cap off Ballard’s prep career.

A game that has been full of Buckeyes over the years, Ballard will once again be part of a large group of guys already in the fold for Ohio State as a good portion of their 2021 class take the field in this prestigious all-star game.

An honor not many high school athletes get to receive, this is just further proof of the incredible talent Ryan Day and his staff are bringing to the roster in every cycle.

A prospect that has climbed in the rankings since his commitment to the Buckeyes back in June of 2019, Ballard is now considered the fifth-best receiver in the country in 2021, the No. 2 player in Ohio, and a top-50 recruit nationally. Testament to the recruiting chops of Brian Hartline, the receiver room in Columbus quite possibly has never been this talented or deep. With Jayden being a home-grown player from an historical Ohio high school program, it’s only fitting that a guy of his caliber would be staying within the state lines to play his college ball.

A big congratulations to Ballard on this honor, as he is certainly deserving.

Quick Hits

  • Yesterday, former 2021 Ohio State verbal commit Tunmise Adeleye announced via Twitter that he has narrowed his list down to a final three schools. Making the cut included Texas A&M, Florida, and Alabama. While Ohio State has seemingly moved on from Adeleye, the announcement shows you that barring something drastic, the four-star prospect will certainly not be coming back to Columbus in 2021.