The Hurry-Up: Tunmise Adeleye Discusses Pairing Up with Jack Sawyer and Dream of Being a Buckeye Dating Back to 2015 Title Game

By Zack Carpenter on April 16, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Tunmise Adeleye
Tunmise Adeleye (Andrew Ivins, 247Sports)

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.

Dream since Oregon game

When Tunmise Adeleye was a sixth-grader, he sat and watched in his parents' home as Ohio State routed Oregon, 42-20, in January of 2015.

Ever since that night, the future standout Texan and Floridian defensive end has known in his heart where he was going to play his college ball. On Wednesday afternoon, he dropped a surprise to just about everyone – except those closest to him – when he decided to forgo the Aug. 1 date he had set for a commitment and pledged himself to Ohio State.

“I already knew, ever since 2015 when Ohio State played Oregon in the national championship, that if I ever had the opportunity to go be a Buckeye then I would be a Buckeye,” Adeleye told Eleven Warriors. “From that moment, immediately in the back of my head, I’ve known. People close to me have known, my family’s known for a long time. I just wanted to feel out the recruiting process.”

Any particular moments that stood out from that game?

In short, not really. But that was the start of the young Adeleye finding out Ohio State's rich tradition.

“I would say what stood out was the beatdown that they gave them, man. That was all you needed to see – how decisively they won,” Adeleye said. “Tradition is tradition. If the school has a tradition, they’re gonna continue to win, and they’re gonna find ways to win. Ohio State is one of those premier programs with a lot of tradition that’s gonna continue to win for years, years and years just because it’s a staple of their program. It’s something they expect that’s gonna happen no matter what.

“I just look at it like this – the reason they’re successful is because Ohio State is a national brand. It’s a Clemson. It’s an Alabama. That name is revered. So with recruits, when you’re recruiting somebody to come to Ohio State, you already have the plus of being an elite program. If you couple that in with the tradition, a lot of people look at Ohio State as an offer as ‘That’s the one that I want.’ It’s an offer that’s on the same level as a Bama and a Clemson. It’s just the tradition of this program. It’s just something that recruits gravitate towards.”

“I just felt like it was crucial for me to be a brick builder in the class to get other guys to come with me to build the class so we can go win a national championship.” – Ohio State defensive end commit Tunmise Adeleye

Adeleye says he gets a bit emotional when he starts to think about putting on an Ohio State jersey in the future.

“It’s just something that, whenever I see that scarlet and gray, it’s been making me feel a certain way for a long time now,” Adeleye said. “I’ve just known deep down this is where I’m gonna end up at when it’s all said and done. That was even before I knew anything about Coach Johnson or knew about his track record of developing people. Before I knew anything about him, I just knew Ohio State, this is where I’m gonna end up at.

“It’s been a long time because, personally, ask anyone that’s really close to me. When I was little, whenever they would ask me ‘Who’s your favorite college team?’ I would say Ohio State. Always. Always. Always. Ask anyone around – my parents, my sisters, my close friends – they all know.”

Now that Adeleye is firmly in the fold, his mission is to help the Buckeyes get wins on the field and on the recruiting trail.

“Being able to go to Ohio State, I know I’m gonna be able to win, and who likes to lose? That’s one way I’m looking at it,” Adeleye said. “Another way is it’s Coach (Larry) Johnson and Coach (Greg Mattison). There is so much combined knowledge, for decades, on the defensive line from those two guys alone.

“I just felt like it was crucial for me to be a brick builder in the class to get other guys to come with me to build the class so we can go win a national championship.”

“You guys are gonna be in for a show”

When we spoke with Adeleye back in October, he told us he had barely spoken with Jack Sawyer but that he “could see myself playing with him in the future.”

Over the past few months, those two increased their communication extensively, with Sawyer continuing to build on his reputation of being the Buckeyes' top commit-recruiter. The two have long been envisioning a scenario of being developed by Johnson together, digging their hands into the same line of turf and meeting in the backfield to bring down Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin quarterbacks.

Soon enough, once they both sign, they can begin working toward making those visions a reality.

“Oh, I’m pumped. I’m 100 percent confident there’s gonna be a long three years for quarterbacks in the Big Ten,” Adeleye said. “They’re already kind of used to it just because of how Coach Johnson developed everyone else, so I don’t think anyone’s gonna be surprised at what’s gonna happen. It’s gonna be complete domination like you’ve never seen. It’s gonna be complete domination. I can tell you that much. You guys are gonna be in for a show these next couple of years.

“Just knowing how Jack approaches football and how he approaches life, I can really see myself playing alongside him and playing on the opposite side of him. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. A lot of fun.”

Buckeyes make Harris' top five

Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., has sent three players to Columbus in the past decade – Curtis Samuel (2014), Jahsen Wint (2016) and Matthew Jones (2018). 

Perhaps it could add a fourth.

Four-star weakside defensive end Jahzion Harris, ranked No. 4 at the position and No. 2 in the state of New York, released his top five schools on Wednesday evening, pitting Ohio State, Texas A&M, LSU, Rutgers and Michigan against each other.

While it doesn't sound like Harris has especially strong relationships with the Ohio State staff, he is looking to make a visit to Columbus sometime after the recruiting moratorium is over. It would be his first visit to Ohio State since June 2018, which was the summer after his freshman year.

Johnson trims list

The country's 20th-ranked cornerback in the 2021 class, Jamier Johnson, trimmed his list down to seven schools this week, as Ohio State, Nebraska, USC, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon and Texas are pitted against each other.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound corner from John Muir (Calif.) High School is ranked No. 25 in the Golden State and is the No. 286th-ranked overall prospect in the class.

Right now, there are a few other cornerbacks Ohio State has higher on its board than Johnson in this cycle, and with only one cornerback spot open, it's likely the Buckeyes are waiting on decisions from guys like Tony Grimes, Kamar Wilcoxson, Jantzen Dunn and another who there has been increasing smoke around – Mater Dei (Calif.) cornerback Jaylin Davies.

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