After not landing a five-star defensive lineman in the 2023 class, Larry Johnson has secured two in the 2024 cycle.
Ohio State pulled off a major recruiting win on Tuesday after five-star prospect Eddrick Houston committed to the Buckeyes, becoming the eighth defensive lineman to commit to the Buckeyes since Johnson's tenure with the program started in 2014.
Other five-star prospects Johnson has landed include Justin Scott (2024), Jack Sawyer (2021), J.T. Tuimoloau (2021), Zach Harrison (2019), Taron Vincent (2018), Chase Young (2017) and Nick Bosa (2016).
Houston has the second-lowest 247Sports composite score of the eight defensive linemen (0.9885), but that certainly doesn't mean he's not an impact player, as the Buford prospect could theoretically start at either defensive tackle or defensive end in college.
|1. DE J.T. Tuimoloau (2021)||.9989|
|2. DE Jack Sawyer (2021)||.9980|
|3. DE Nick Bosa (2016)||.9965|
|4. DE Chase Young (2017)||.9957|
|5. DT Justin Scott (2024)||.9939|
|6. DE Zach Harrison (2019)||.9932|
|7. DL Eddrick Houston (2024)||.9885|
|8. DT Taron Vincent (2018)||.9884|
With only seven other defensive linemen considered five-star prospects in the Johnson era, we look at how six of those players performed in their time in Columbus, with the obvious caveat that Scott is a year away from suiting up from the Buckeyes along with Houston.
JT Tuimoloau (2021-present)
The highest-rated defensive line prospect OSU has ever had in Johnson's tenure, Tuimoloau is a third-year defensive end hoping to unleash his full potential in his second year playing for Jim Knowles. He'll have a chance to do so as he plays alongside a defensive line corps that is arguably the deepest he's had in his tenure and also believes his first step has evolved tremendously since he first stepped foot on campus.
In 26 games (12 starts) through his sophomore season, Tuimoloau has totaled 45 tackles (15 for loss), six sacks, one forced fumble, seven passes defended, two interceptions and one touchdown (a pick-six). The best game of his career to date came at Penn State last season when the 6-foot-4, 271-pound defensive end had six tackles (three for loss), two sacks, one forced fumble, three passes defended and two interceptions, including a pick-six.
Jack Sawyer (2021-present)
Sawyer is another third-year Ohio State product hoping to break out this season, and interestingly enough, he and Tuimoloau began their Buckeye careers as the highest-ranked defensive line recruits in Johnson's Ohio State tenure. The in-state product has racked up 37 tackles (9.5 for loss), 7.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes defended in 25 games (three starts) across two seasons. He led Ohio State with 4.5 sacks in 2022, tied with defensive tackle Michael Hall Jr.
After primarily playing the Jack position last season, Sawyer is expected to transition back to a pure defensive end in 2023 and hopes for a breakout year in his third season with the Buckeyes. Thus far in fall camp, Sawyer said he feels "very comfortable" being back at his natural position at defensive end and switched back after a mutual agreement between him, Johnson and Knowles.
Nick Bosa (2016-18)
Bosa earned no shortage of accolades in his time at Ohio State, as he was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and earned first-team All-American honors in 2017.
In three seasons in Columbus, Bosa recorded 77 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 30 games. He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the second-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and has since become one of the league's best defensive players.
Chase Young (2017-19)
Arguably the most decorated defensive end in Ohio State history, Young made life a living hell for his opponents in his three seasons with the Buckeyes.
In 36 appearances (23 starts) at Ohio State, Young had 99 tackles, 42.5 tackles for loss, 30.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and eight passes defended. In 2019, Young produced arguably the greatest season by a defensive player in program history, racking up a nation-leading 16.5 sacks which also set a single-season school record.
A unanimous All-American and winner of six individual awards in 2019, Young became just the ninth defensive player to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy since 1982. Young was selected with the second-overall pick by Washington in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Zach Harrison (2019-2022)
In 40 career games with the Buckeyes, Harrison recorded 97 total tackles (24 for loss) with 11 sacks, an interception and four forced fumbles, three of which came in his final season in 2022. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 75th overall pick.
Taron Vincent (2018-2022)
In five seasons at Ohio State, Vincent racked up 57 total tackles (eight for loss) with 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in 40 games played. After his collegiate career, he signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent in April.