Tommy Togiai is officially going pro.
Ohio State's standout defensive tackle has declared for the 2021 NFL draft following a breakout All-Big Ten season. He made the decision on Monday, announcing on Twitter that he would forgo his senior season.
Forever a Buckeye pic.twitter.com/DedK3kZutw— Tommy Togiai (@Big_Tom72) January 19, 2021
“This has been one of the toughest choices I have ever faced but after discussing with my family, it's best for me to forgo my senior season and my time to declare for the 2021 NFL draft,” Togiai said in his announcement.
Coming into his third season in Columbus, Togiai was a prime candidate to have a breakout year, and with the lack of depth along the Buckeyes' interior defensive line it was imperative for him to rise to the occasion. The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder – who is regarded within Ohio State's program as the strongest player on the team – certainly made his mark in his only full season as a starter.
After playing in all 14 games as a sophomore for the Buckeyes, Togiai came out of the gate strong this fall. First came a standout performance against Nebraska and then a three-sack game against Penn State that earned him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and put him on the map as one of the conference's top defensive linemen.
He finished the season with 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and three sacks, earning him second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media.
Togiai will soon cash in on his No. 53 overall ranking and his billing as the No. 3 defensive tackle coming out of the 2018 recruiting class. Under Larry Johnson, the Idaho native Togiai – the state's top-ranked prospect in that cycle – has developed into a likely day-two NFL draft selection who has been picked to go in the third round in some mock drafts.
Togiai is the fifth underclassman to announce he is leaving Ohio State to enter the 2021 NFL draft, joining quarterback Justin Fields, guard Wyatt Davis, center Josh Myers and defensive back Shaun Wade.
His departure leaves the Buckeyes with a major question mark at defensive tackle. Haskell Garrett has not yet announced whether he will return for his extra year of eligibility or also enter the 2021 NFL draft, but Ohio State will need a new starter to step up at nose tackle. Jerron Cage is the likely frontrunner after starting in Togiai's place in the national championship game, but they could need young defensive tackles like redshirt freshman Ty Hamilton and true freshmen Mike Hall and Tyleik Williams to be ready to contribute next season with limited veteran depth at the position.