Ohio State Buckeyes make final four of nation’s top remaining recruit for 2021

Ohio State’s chances of adding another elite recruit to its 2021 recruiting class may have increased Friday afternoon.

Head coach Ryan Day’s team is a finalist for five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau of Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic, but the Buckeyes were expecting to sweat out the weekend while Tuimoloau visited Alabama.

Not anymore.

Tuimoloau told 247Sports he canceled the visit and was no longer considering the Crimson Tide.

“I’m going to focus on the four schools I’ve visited: Ohio State, Oregon, Washington and USC,” he said.

Tuimoloau is the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in 247Sports rankings and No. 3 in 247Sports Composite rankings that take into account multiple services.

The 6-5, 277-pounder chose not to sign with a school in February because he wanted to wait until the NCAA lifted a recruiting dead period that prevented him from taking official visits.

With that happening in June, he has been around the country being wooed by potential college teams who would like to add them to their defense this fall.

That began with a trip to nearby Washington and continued with visits to USC, Ohio State and Oregon.

He was in Columbus last weekend and then went to Eugene on Sunday night through Wednesday.

“I think I have a pretty good idea of what each of the four schools I’ve visited offer and now I’m going to discuss things as a family and come to a decision,” Tuimoloau said.

Ohio State’s 2021 class is ranked No. 2 in the country behind Alabama while Oregon is No. 6, USC is No. 7 and Washington is No. 36.

The Buckeyes already signed five five-star prospects for 2021, including Jack Sawyer of Pickerington North outside Columbus. He is the No. 3 defensive end in the country and No. 4 overall player.

They also have an elite prospect from Washington already in the fold. That’s Emeka Egbuka, a receiver from Steilacoom who like Sawyer enrolled in school last winter and showed his wares in the spring game. Egbuka is the No. 2 prospect from his state and No. 1 receiver in the country.

The other five-stars in the class are TreVeyon Henderson of Hopewell, Va., who is rated the top running back in the class, Donovan Jackson of Bellaire, Texas, who is the top-rated interior offensive lineman in the class and Kyle McCord of Philadelphia, the No. 5 quarterback in the class.

Including Sawyer, Ohio State’s 2021 class already includes three defensive linemen. The other two are Mike Hall of Streetsboro, Ohio, and Tyleik Williams of Manassas, Va.

Although Ohio State has made a habit of stacking up talented defensive line recruits, a majority of coach Larry Johnson’s rotation at end this fall will be draft eligible and could leave early, opening up playing time for Sawyer and other youngsters in 2022.

Ohio State already has a verbal commitment from the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2022, quarterback Quinn Ewers of Southlake Carroll High School in Texas.

The ’22 class is ranked No. 1 in the country entering the weekend, and it does not include anyone rated as a defensive lineman.

Earlier this week the group grew to 14 members when running back Dallas Hayden of Memphis, Tenn., verbally committed.

Although most prospects sign national letters of intent to lock in their scholarship, that is not required to be eligible.

Players can choose to simply enroll at the school of their choice and begin their careers.

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