Happy August, folks. Kids are headed back to school soon, county fairs are ramping up, baseball has entered the stretch run, and most importantly — college football is right around the corner. On the Fourth of July, the No. 3 player in the country, five-star DL J.T. Tuimoloau, committed to Ryan Day and Ohio State football. However, there was one wrinkle with his commitment that made him even more intriguing — he wants to play basketball, too.
Tuimoloau was a solid high school basketball player, averaging a double-double as a senior at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington. He even earned a basketball scholarship offer from Washington before committing to the Buckeyes. Will he ever play a game for the basketball Buckeyes? Well, that’s to be determined. Chris Holtmann met with J.T.T. when he visited campus, and is open to the idea if Ryan Day and J.T.T. are still on board with it whenever the football season ends.
J.T.T. would be a walk-on for the BasketBucks if he plays, so don’t expect the gridiron stardom to necessarily translate to the hardwood. But even if he plays only sparingly, it would be pretty remarkable. At 6-foot-4 and 277 pounds, Tuimoloau would be a ton of fun to watch down in the paint, even if it’s only in blowouts.
But the possibility of J.T.T. playing both sports had us thinking — which basketball player could walk on to the football team and compete right now? We are not looking at which player was the best high school football player, several of them could claim that. We argued which player could step onto the football team right now and contribute.
Last week’s “Nuts” recap
Last week, Connor and Justin celebrated “Bold Predictions” week by both giving their boldest, spiciest predictions for the 2021-2022 men’s basketball team. Connor predicted that one member of the basketball team would get in trouble for some type of NIL-violation. Justin predicted that Cedric Russell would average 20+ per game. We asked you to pick which was more likely.
Justin won by a pretty safe margin, mustering 48% of the vote. Connor’s slightly concerning NIL prediction received 38% of the vote, and the remaining 14% of you all thought that neither of those predictions were bold enough. Really?
After 13 weeks
(Seven weeks ago there was a tie)
After roughly three months of debating, Connor holds a 6-4 lead over Justin, and the “other” option won twice.
So, which current Ohio State basketball player do you think would best translate to the football field? Here are our picks. As always, if you agree with one of us, let us know in the comments below, or respond on Twitter! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in particular, or anything Ohio State-hoops related!
Today’s Question: Which Ohio State basketball player would be the best football player?
Connor: E.J. Liddell, TE
I mean, this is pretty much a layup, right? At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Liddell could revitalize a position that is criminally under-utilized at Ohio State, the tight end. Ohio State’s tight ends combined for 19 receptions last season, which is fewer than two per game.
Have you ever seen Liddell catch an entry pass in the paint? The man has bear paws for hands, is 6-foot-7, and is built like a brick you-know-what house. Whether it’s simply for blocking or making plays in the open field, Liddell could make some plays for the Buckeyes on the gridiron.
Game changer in overtime, E.J. Liddell should try out at fullback for the Ohio State football team. Buckeye lead extended to four on this possession. pic.twitter.com/IP2Q9viFfI— Ross Bolin (@Ross_Bolin) March 12, 2021
Liddell played football at Belleville West High School, but basketball quickly became his main game. Neither MaxPreps nor 247Sports have his high school football stats, so I’m not sure which position he played or how talented he was on the gridiron. I’d assume tight end, because what other offensive position would a 6-foot-6, 250-pound high schooler play? And when you’ve got hands like his, they certainly can’t stick you on the offensive line.
Ohio State will have senior Jeremy Ruckert lining up at tight end this fall after a very strong 2020 season, as well as a great couple games in the College Football Playoff. Behind Ruckert there’s uncertainty, but that’s not too much of a concern considering Ohio State does not throw to the TE too often. Redshirt sophomore Cade Stover could back up Ruckert, and former four-star wide receiver-turned tight end Gee Scott could also see some reps. Obviously, Liddell wouldn’t threaten Ruckert in the least bit, but could he be the second or third-string tight end? Who knows!
To review: Ohio State’s depth at tight end isn’t too terribly impressive. Liddell played football in high school. He’s also a freak athlete with the size to bully pretty much any defensive back, and outrun any lineman. He also grew up as a big Ohio State football fan, allegedly.
E.J. Liddell: tight end. What do we think?
Justin: Justice Sueing, QB
When it comes to basketball players and football players, there tends to be a pretty large overlap in guys that can play both. Particularly in high school. When looking at the current Ohio State basketball team and guys that I think that can play both, a couple standout as guys who can, but only one stands out as a QB1. Justice Sueing.
Sueing is a Swiss Army Knife for the Buckeyes hoops team and can be the same for the football team. He has good size and speed so he can fit the Terrelle Pryor mold, even though he would likely not be that athletic or quick.
One of the main things needed to be a successful quarterback is the IQ and the feel of the game. Justice Sueing has a natural feel for basketball that can translate to the green grass and he has shown his aptitude for understanding the game at a high level. Sports knowledge will translate from sport to sport and he can move it from the basketball court to the football field.
"Give Sueing the hockey assist from his rear end!" @JusticeSueing's alert pass leads to an @OhioStateHoops transition 3. pic.twitter.com/vdYHwbPevv— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 20, 2021
He has also been known to be extremely coachable, which is something that would be key in his transition and with Ryan day coaching him, one of the best in the business and certainly a top 20 coach in college football, he would make the 6-foot-7 forward a great football player. Sueing is very underrated physically, with Indiana’s Archie Miller having this to say about Sueing this about him after a game last season.
“I just really feel like Justice Sueing, people don’t understand how big and how strong and how underrated he is for what he does for their team,” Miller said. “Their 3, 4 and 5 can really hammer you with their post-ups, their off-the lane game, their offensive rebounding. To me, that’s where we got a little bit knocked back. Our guards had a hard time with Sueing to start the game off the dribble and off the glass.”
Obviously that physicality would be important playing football in the Big Ten conference and guys like Micah Parson or AJ Epenesa coming after him.
Also, he would be a left-handed quarterback and left-handed quarterbacks are simply more fun. I realize that doesn’t really help my argument but I don’t care. Left-handed quarterbacks are more fun and that is a hill I am willing to die on. And he went to California to start his collegiate career. Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff went to California. That’s all I’m saying.
Which basketball player would be a better football player?
This poll is closed
E.J. Liddell (Connor)
Justice Sueing (Justin)
Someone else on the team