Tommy Togiai is staying in Ohio.
The Ohio State defensive tackle was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 132 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft on Saturday.
Let’s ride Cleveland— Tommy Togiai (@Big_Tom72) May 1, 2021
Togiai is the seventh Buckeye selected in this year's draft, joining first-round pick Justin Fields, second-round picks Pete Werner and Josh Myers and third-round picks Wyatt Davis, Trey Sermon and Baron Browning. Ohio State has now had at least seven players selected in six consecutive drafts.
Togiai said he was “ecstatic” to be drafted by the Browns and to be staying in the Buckeye State.
“I'm just so blessed and grateful for them picking me,” Togiai said. “I love Ohio, and I'm just excited to go back to Ohio and get to work.”
He's the third Ohio State defensive tackle to be drafted in the last three years, joining 2019 third-round pick Dre'Mont Jones and 2020 third-round pick DaVon Hamilton.
Togiai joins Denzel Ward as former Buckeyes on the Browns' roster.
Ohio State's first-ever player from the state of Idaho, Togiai had a breakout year on Ohio State's interior defensive line in 2020, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and recorded 23 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Regarded by his teammates and coaches as the strongest player on the team during his Ohio State career, Togiai put up 40 reps of 225 pounds – which would have been the top mark among defensive linemen at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine – at Ohio State's pro day. He also has excellent athleticism for his size at 6-foot-2 and 296 pounds, giving him the potential to remain a disruptive force at the next level.
“When Tommy was there, it felt like a pretty easy pick for us, ”Cleveland Browns director of player personnel Dan Saganey said after drafting Togiai. “Tommy, for us, is a really good scheme fit ... We look for guys who can penetrate off the ball, we think he can do that ... We're always looking for quick, twitchy, explosive guys and we think he fits that.”
He was only a one-year starter for the Buckeyes, however, which may have led to his slide down the draft board, especially since he was only able to play in seven games in 2020.
An early NFL draft entrant who left Ohio State after just three seasons, which he described as “probably the hardest decision I’ve made so far in my life,” Togiai is the first member of Ohio State's recruiting class of 2018 – most of which is still playing for the Buckeyes – to be selected in the NFL draft.
Togiai said Saturday, though, that he had no regrets about entering the draft a year early even though he had to wait until the draft's final day to hear his name called.
“I was betting on myself, and it worked out for the best,” Togiai said.