The Hurry-Up: J.T. Tuimoloau Moves Past Jack Sawyer in Rankings, Caleb Tiernan Trims List, NCAA Grants Refunds for Recruiting Visits

By Zack Carpenter on March 24, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Caleb Tiernan
Caleb Tiernan

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Tuimoloau supplants Sawyer in rankings

All three of the top-ranked players in the 2021 class are defensive linemen, and Ohio State has a great shot at landing two of them.

Korey Foreman (No. 1) is already headed to Clemson, but the Buckeyes have some major momentum right now for the newly rated No. 2 overall player in the country, J.T. Tuimoloau, who has supplanted long-time Buckeye commit Jack Sawyer, who moved down a spot to No. 3 in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Tuimoloau, who was the top-ranked player when the initial 247Sports rankings were released in the summer following his sophomore season, has never visited Columbus, so the fact that he will most likely not be able to get to campus until at least the summer could hurt the Buckeyes.

Even still, Ohio State has gained some momentum in Tuimoloau's recruitment over the past couple weeks. I'm still of the thought that Tuimoloau's commitment is unlikely to come until he's able to get back on college campuses, as it's rare for a guy to commit to Ohio State without having visited (especially a guy coming all the way from Seattle). 

But Tuimoloau has a good relationship with Buckeye 2020 receiver signee Gee Scott Jr., a former teammate at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, Washington, and that's one reason to believe Ohio State has a bit of an edge.

Sawyer has long been the crown jewel of Ohio State's 2021 recruiting class, but Tuimoloau would be on that same level. That one-two punch along the defensive line would not be rivaled by any other program's class. Add in the nation's No. 8-ranked defensive tackle and another consensus top-100 recruit, Mike Hall, as their guy to fill the 3-tech spot, and the Buckeyes would already be well on their way to having the nation's most complete class along the defensive line. (Especially if the other standout 3-tech whom we talked about on Sunday, Marcus Bradley, chooses Ohio State.)

Recruiting is all about momentum, and right now the Buckeyes have it in droves. And it sounds like they've got plenty of it with Tuimoloau. 

Tiernan trims list

Three-star Detroit Country Day (Mich.) offensive tackle Caleb Tiernan trimmed his list to four schools last week, putting Ohio State on a list with Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern.

I don't believe Tiernan will end up with the Buckeyes unless he waits things out to see who does and doesn't join the fold in their 2021 offensive line class. 

With right tackle Ben Christman already locked in, and with the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Tiernan expected to play only tackle, he would have to await the decision of left tackle JC Latham, the Buckeyes' top target at offensive tackle and one whom they have a great chance at landing as momentum has recently increased for Latham, as well.

If Latham ends up choosing LSU over Columbus, Ohio State will take a longer look at Tiernan, who is in a similar mold to 2020 signee Grant Toutant, who needs time to develop before he gets the opportunity to see the field consistently. Both Tiernan and Toutant hail from Michigan high schools and have similar rankings; Tiernan is ranked No. 368 overall, the No. 32 OT and No. 11 prospect in Michigan for the class of 2021, while Toutant was ranked No. 460 overall, No. 35 among offensive tackles and No. 13 in Michigan for the class of 2020.

Ohio State could also continue taking a look at another Michigan offensive tackle, Oak Park four-star prospect Rayshaun Benny, who gave a small update on his recruitment with a trimmed list (albeit a 14-team trimmed list, but a trimmed list nonetheless) over the weekend.

NCAA grants refunds for visitors

The NCAA last week announced that it issued a waiver to programs across the country to allow schools to reimburse “prospective student-athletes for expenses related to canceled official and unofficial visits.”

In other words, families who purchased plane tickets purchased, paid for hotel rooms paid and budgeted for star athletes who were planning to visit schools like Ohio State will presumably be refunded those costs.

Great move by the NCAA during an unprecedented time.

Hartline's subtle recruiting pitch

As a recruiting writer, it's become pretty easy to look at just about everything a coach says or does through a recruiting lens. The coach is always making some sort of recruiting pitch.

That's doubly, maybe triply, true on social media, and that's why Brian Hartline's recent tweet about the biggest game of his NFL career felt a lot like a recruiting pitch. (That subtle pitch was bolstered even further by all the reactions of Ohio State alumni to Hartline's tweet.)

He's not going to say it publicly, but we can pretty easily assume that Hartline's successful NFL career is something that recruits and their parents/coaches love asking him about. And Hartline surely doesn't mind talking about it, either.

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