COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defensive lineman JT Tuimoloau was the last unsigned player in the 2021 recruiting class, and on Independence Day, he eventually committed to the state of Ohio.
The nation’s No. 3 player chose the Buckeyes over Oregon, USC and Washington after a month of official visits postponed by a year due to the pandemic. His June 18 trip to Columbus was the only time he came to OSU during his recruiting, but that was all he needed.
“It just felt like home,” Tuimoloau told CBS Sports HQ during his announcement.
Larry Johnson is the main reason. The Ohio State defensive line coach is responsible for three top 3 NFL draft picks, four Big Ten Defensive Linemen of the Year, and many other accomplishments since joining the Urban Meyer staff in 2014. That impressive resume is why the five-star recruit is in Columbus.
“That was high on my list,” Tuimoloau said. “For me and my family, it wasn’t developed as a player, but as a person. I feel like what Coach Johnson did there, his legacy, I felt he could make it happen.”
Johnson will pair Tuimoloau with Jack Sawyer as the two best players in the class and the top-rated defenses of the modern age. Sawyer was the first member of the class to join on February 3, 2019, just a month after Ryan Day officially took over as head coach. Tuimoloau is the last member 882 days later.
Tuimoloau did not reveal at the press conference when he plans to arrive, only that he “will be soon”. Summer classes start on July 6. The Buckeyes have already started summer training with all members of the 2021 recruiting class except Tuimoloau on campus.
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Fields’ Bears jersey: Ohio State football fans can purchase Justin Fields’ new Chicago Bears jersey here. It is available in white, blue and orange – and in men’s, women’s and youth sizes. There is also a cheaper T-shirt option.