The nation’s No. 3 overall player and No. 2 defensive lineman out of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington, Tuimoloau gives Ohio State a pair of five-star talents along the defensive line as he’ll join forces with Pickerington edge rusher Jack Sawyer. Both are ranked among the top five player in the country regardless of position. In a class that now features six five-star prospects, Tuimoloau is the top-rated of the bunch.
Tuimoloau, a friend and high school teammate of Buckeye tight end Gee Scott Jr., gives Ohio State a gigantic win on the trail and a massive presence on the field. Despite his late arrival to campus, he could still be an immediate contributor in the trenches.
While he’s third in the composite, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Tuimoloau is actually listed as the No. 1 player in the country according to the 247Sports rankings. He has the versatility to either be an edge rusher or dominant three-technique under the tutelage of Larry Johnson, but it is believed that he will start out along the edge.
After recruiting the state of Washington minimally for a long while, the Buckeyes have struck gold of late. Scott Jr. signed with the Buckeyes in 2020, and five-star wideout Emeka Egbuka followed suit in the Class of 2021. Egbuka shined in the spring game, and he too is very close with Tuimoloau.
Before Scott’s signing, the Buckeyes had only signed two players out of Washington in their history and zero in the history of the modern recruiting era (Kevin Griffin, the nephew of Archie Griffin, played in Columbus from 1994-98 and Robert Murphy from 1971-73).
Tuimoloau unsurprisingly has offers from everyone including Alabama, USC, Stanford, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, and Auburn. Back in December, he announced a final five of Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Oregon, and Washington.
With the dead period ending in June, Tuimoloau and his family spent the month making official visits across the country. The hometown Huskies got the first shot, and then the family headed to Southern Cal. Ohio State was the third visit before he finished things up at Oregon. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were scheduled to get the last shot, but that visit ended up getting canceled.
He arrived for his first Ohio State visit with plenty of fanfare. Ryan Day, Larry Johnson, Kerry Coombs, and several other Buckeye staff members met Tuimoloau and his family at the airport. It was really unlike anything we’ve seen before on the trail. But after nearly two years of waiting to get on campus, the staff clearly wanted to make it a special moment for the family.
For a while, Alabama had looked like the biggest threat to the Buckeyes, but Tuimoloau’s relationship with Johnson – who he sees as the best person to help him get to the NFL – proved to be the biggest determining factor in the recruitment. The recent push in the Pacific Northwest – and the signing of Scott Jr. and Egbuka – was undoubtedly another factor in the five-star’s decision.
In terms of athleticism, it’s worth noting that Tuimoloau is also a Division I basketball prospect with offers from both Oregon and Washington. Many analysts seem to believe that he could be the nation’s top-rated tight end if that was his position of choice. While on his official visit, he got to meet with Chris Holtmann, and the two discussed potentially having an opening for him on the hardwood. His 247Sports player comparison is a familiar name in Cameron Heyward.
Tuimoloau is commitment No. 22 for Ryan Day’s 2021 recruiting class. He and Jack Sawyer form a five-star pass-rushing duo unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a single Ohio State recruiting class. Tuimoloau was extremely patient throughout the recruiting process. And it would be a vast understatement to say that it was well worth the wait for Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes.
He’s now set to enroll at Ohio State and will begin preparing for the upcoming season.