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Buckeyes still viewed as leaders for five-star DE

Ohio State should like where it is sitting when it comes to arguably the nation’s top prospect in 2021.

Five-star Eastside Catholic DE J.T. Tuimoloau 
Brandon Huffman, 247Sports

Late last week, Ohio State 2021 five-star defensive end target J.T. Tuimoloau (Sammamish, WA/Eastside Catholic) included the Buckeyes in his top seven schools. The announcement itself of the top schools was somewhat surprising, and while the programs he listed were not all that shocking, it did offer a glimpse into a recruitment that has been rather close to the vest.

Despite Tuimoloau keeping quiet on his recruitment, Ohio State has long been viewed as the frontrunner in the race for his services. A large reason for their success with the Washington native has been because of the Buckeyes recent success in sending defensive ends to the NFL Draft, as well as his relationship with OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

247Sports National Recruiting Editor, Brandon Huffman, spoke on Tuimoloau’s recruitment and what he believes is each of his seven finalists chances to land him are. When speaking of Ohio State and Tuimoloau, Huffman had the following to say:

That said, the Wolverines biggest rival, Ohio State, has a lot of momentum, too. They have 92% of the Crystal Ball votes for the No. 1 prospect.

The Buckeyes recent track record with pass-rushers (Chase Young, Joey Bosa and Nick Bosa) plus defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s long history of defensive linemen is something that Tuimoloau has long acknowledged as a big reason for his interest in the Buckeyes.

They also have a familiar face on the roster in good friend and former Eastside Catholic teammate Gee Scott Jr., now a freshman receiver for the Buckeyes.

The only thing the Buckeyes have lacked is the ability to get Tuimoloau on campus — he had planned to this spring, but that was obviously put on hold.

Still, Buckeye fans may have the most reason for hope for Tuimoloau.

Tuimoloau will likely look to cut his list of seven down to five here shortly. These will be the five official visits that he would take as well, given that the dead period gets lifted eventually.

As was previously mentioned, Tuimoloau has played his recruitment close to the vest, and as a result will likely not reach a decision by the early signing period. Instead, look for the blue-chip prospect to wait until the traditional National Signing Day in February.

Tuimoloau is the No. 2 DE in the 247Sports Composite Rankings and is the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation in 2021.

Quick Hits:

  • Ohio State five-star OL target Tristan Leigh showed off some Ohio State gear in a Tweet on Monday. Leigh has been trending towards LSU with Oklahoma and Ohio State seemingly still involved. The Buckeyes chances of landing a commitment from Leigh has dwindled as of late, but could this be a sign that things are heating back up, or is this a simple tease from Leigh?
  • Ohio State 2021 four-star DT target Tywone Malone (Oradell, NJ/Bergen Catholic) will no longer be considering the Buckeyes, as the team missed the cut to his final six teams. OSU made his top 14 schools back in May of this year.