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Ohio State’s remaining top target not signing in February, will take decision into April

J.T. Tuimoloau is not planning on signing with his school of choice until this spring. Can Ohio State keep the momentum?

Five-star 2021 DE J.T. Tuimoloau
247Sports

We are less than a week out from the start of the February signing period, and the Ohio State staff has continued to do all they can to add to their incredible class for 2021. Though there’s only a small sample size of guys still under this staff’s consideration, it’s the huge impact it could have on the program if the Buckeyes are able to add one or maybe two guys at most to this roster. We’ll get into it below, but the real aspects worth paying attention to moving forward is a little bit of roster management for Ohio State.

Buckeyes still have a while to wait for five-star DE

There’s probably not a more interesting recruitment to follow in the 2021 class in regards to Ohio State than the chase for five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau. The top-ranked prospect in the class for 247Sports and the third-best player overall in the Composite Rankings certainly isn’t a new name for OSU recruiting followers. The Buckeyes are of course in Tuimoloau’s top-five final schools, but also the thought the be leader for his services when the time comes for him to announce. In mentioning Tuimoloau, there’s not so much of a new update in his recruitment, but more of a confirmation in terms of when the Washington native will give his pledge.

Yesterday, it was reported by 247Sports insider Brandon Huffman that Tuimoloau is not close to his college decision yet, and will look to take this process into the spring and at the very least into April. While this is somewhat expected, it’s coming from a source that certainly is the closest media member to Tuimoloau’s recruitment, as the highly touted prospect is not one to talk about the recruiting scene very much at all. With Huffman giving this important update, it does cement that Ohio State and the other top schools in Tuimoloau’s final five have some time to sway his thinking — or in the Buckeyes’ case, continue to keep up the momentum.

At this point, what is thought to be winning formula for the upper hand in the recruiting race is the Buckeye’s track record in development thanks to Larry Johnson and his relationship with the top defensive end talent. While Tuimoloau has yet to even step foot on Ohio State’s campus, it’s not impossible to wonder if he will try to make it to Columbus before April to see where he could potentially see himself for the next three to four years of his college career. He certainly has a few months to make that work, but until then, it’s a great sign the Buckeyes are this strong of a presence for Tuimoloau’s final signature.

Make no mistake about it — Ohio State would love nothing more than to have the West Coast product sign with them next week for the February signing period. Though that won’t happen, it’s important that the Buckeyes have multiple things going for them. The aforementioned impact of Larry Johnson is critical, but also having guys such as Gee Scott Jr., who played with J.T. in high school, is a major factor, and of course newly enrolled Emeka Egbuka having a great relationship with him as well definitely doesn’t hurt Ohio State’s chances.

It’s going to be a long road until April, but this is one that’s more than worth the wait. If Ohio State can hang on and remain the leader, it should end in a huge boom for this 2021 class.

Quick Hits

  • Further proving how talented the Buckeyes 2022 class is already, yesterday MaxPreps released their High School Juniors All-American team selection, and several Ohio State commits made the cut. Five of the 10 total commits found their name on this prestigious list, which included Quinn Ewers, Jaheim Singletary, C.J. Hicks, Dasan McCullough, and Gabe Powers. An incredible accomplishment for these five young men, Ohio State’s staff couldn’t be more excited to have these guys locked into the fold.