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Ohio State in strong position with five-star 2021 defensive end

The Buckeyes picked up another pair of Crystal Balls for the West Coast talent on Tuesday.

Five-star 2021 DE J.T. Tuimoloau
Brandon Huffman, 247Sports

Ohio State has put together an incredibly impressive 2021 class, with all 21 of their current commits already signed and most planning to enroll early. However, Ryan Day’s work in this cycle is not yet finished, as there are still a few big fish remaining on the market that the Buckeyes would like to add before things are officially wrapped up.

The biggest name still out there, of course, is five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau. The nation’s No. 2 strong-side DE and No. 3 prospect overall in 2021, the Washington native has long been associated with the Buckeyes. The No. 1 overall player in the class according to 247Sports’ own rankings, Tuimoloau released a top-five back in mid-December, but it seems as though he is really choosing between Alabama and Ohio State at this point, with the latter maintaining all of the momentum.

While the Buckeyes have held the majority of Crystal Ball predictions for the 6-foot-4.5, 277-pound edge rusher for quite some time, as of yesterday they now hold 100% of the prognostications. Ohio State picked up two new CBs for Tuimoloau on Tuesday, with 247Sports editorial director Kevin Ryan flipping his choice from Washington to Ohio State and Cascadia Prep’s Ryland Spencer submitting his own in favor of OSU as well.

None of the predictions are of exceedingly high confidence, with Spencer’s most recent CB coming in as the highest at a 6/10, but with how close to the vest Tuimoloau has played his recruitment from start to finish, this is to be expected. Still, with a commitment from the West Coast star likely coming in the next month or so and his strong relationship with position coach Larry Johnson, there are tons of reason to be optimistic that Tuimoloau ends up in Columbus.

The addition of yet another five-star defensive end would be massive for the Ohio State defense, which lacked a true standout edge rusher this past season for the first time since Joey Bosa in 2014. The Buckeyes already have the nation’s No. 3 DE in five-star Ohio native Jack Sawyer in 2021, and adding Tuimoloau to the class alongside Sawyer would really revitalize that room for coach Johnson. It would also give Day six total five-star prospects in the class — an incredible feat for the second-year head coach.

Outside of Tuimoloau, the only other real top prospect the Buckeyes are still in on in 2021 is four-star linebacker Raesjon Davis. A former LSU commit, Davis is the No. 4 OLB and No. 45 prospect overall. Ohio State made his most recent top schools list, but the California native seems to be leaning more towards USC.

Quick Hits

  • On Tuesday night, Ohio State made the top schools list for five-star 2022 defensive tackle Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy. Ranked as the No. 3 DT and the No. 16 prospect overall in the junior cycle, the Florida native cut his list down from over 21 offers to a top 11. Alongside the Buckeyes are Clemson, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pitt, South Carolina, Texas A&M, USC and USF as the programs still vying for Brownlow-Dindy’s services.
  • On the basketball side of things, Ohio State is still very much in the running for 2022 center Felix Okpara. Speaking with 247Sports this week, Okpara said that the Buckeyes were among the teams he has been hearing from the most in his recruitment, alongside other programs like Florida, Texas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. A four-star prospect, the 6-foot-11 Tennessee native is the No. 6 center and No. 41 player overall in the junior class. He does not yet have a timetable for when he will be releasing a top schools list, and there is likely a long ways to go before Okpara makes his commitment.