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Pair of top-tier 2021 recruits linked to Ohio State

The duo received 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions on Tuesday morning, both in favor of the Buckeyes

Five-star defensive tackle J.T. Tuimoloau
Brandon Huffman, 247Sports

The month of February is listed officially on the calendar as a recruiting dead period, but it is anything but in terms of news surrounding some of the nation’s top athletes, especially in the upcoming 2021 class.

We are just one week removed from National Signing Day for the 2020 class, and yet there is already a huge push to start off hot in the next cycle. Recruiting is a 24/7 commitment year-round in college football, and Ryan Day and the rest of his staff are taking no days off to rest on the laurels off an impressive fifth-ranked class. The Buckeyes are rapidly picking up steam for 2021, and got even more potential good news on Tuesday.

Two big targets trending toward Ohio State

The Buckeyes are currently in possession of the top class in 2021, already holding a whopping 10 verbal commits including the No. 2 player according to the 247Sports Composite in defensive end Jack Sawyer. While Day and Ohio State are off to an impressive early start in compiling next year’s class, that group could become even more profound moving forward — especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Tuesday morning saw two high-end targets earn Crystal Ball predictions from a pretty reliable source, as cornerback Jakailin Johnson and defensive tackle J.T. Tuimoloau were both forecast to become future Buckeyes by 247Sports Ohio recruiting analyst Bill Greene.

Johnson is a highly-touted corner out of St. Louis, MO. The four-star defensive back is currently the No. 5 CB and No. 51 player overall in the country in the 247Sports Composite rankings. Ohio State has clearly shown immense interest in Johnson, and according to Lettermen Row, sent both Brian Hartline and Matt Barnes as well as Kerry Coombs to meet with the star DB at the end of January.

Greene is not the only expert to peg Johnson as a future Buckeye, with Eleven Warriors’ Andrew Ellis also submitting a Crystal Ball prediction for Johnson to OSU back on Jan. 20.

Tuimoloau, on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise to be linked to Ohio State. A five-star defensive tackle, Tuimoloau is the No. 1 DT in the country, and No. 4 player overall in the 247Sports Composite. His home state of Washington hasn’t exactly been a breeding ground for Buckeyes historically, however Tuimoloau does attend the same high school (Eastside Catholic) as 2020 signee Gee Scott Jr., so maybe Ohio State could get lightning to strike twice.

While Crystal Ball predictions are in no way a concrete testament of where a player will end up, it is worth noting that Greene is a perfect 14 of 14 in his predictions for the 2021 class thus far. Nine of his 11 other predictions for Ohio State commits have come true, with the other two — JC Latham and Troy Stellato — having not yet made their decisions. Overall, he’s shooting at a 93 percent clip making Buckeye predictions all-time.

Quick Hits

  • A handful of Ohio State’s 2021 commits saw big ratings bumps in Tuesday’s release of the Rivals250 rankings. The biggest jump came from linebacker Reid Carrico, who shot up an enormous 76 spots to come in at No. 101 overall. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. climbed the ranks as well, moving up 28 spots to No. 39.
  • 2021 tight end Bryson Nesbit earned an Ohio State offer on Monday. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound product of Charlotte, NC is a three-star recruit, and is the No. 19 TE in the class.
  • Four-star linebacker target Barrett Carter is expected to make some form of announcement later this afternoon. It is unlikely to be a commitment decision, but could very well be a top schools list. Either way, the No. 6 OLB in the nation has something to say on Wednesday.