J.T. Tuimoloau needed only 10 practices to “officially” become a Buckeye.
The five-star freshman defensive end had his black stripe removed after Ohio State's Saturday scrimmage, becoming the first summer enrollee in the freshman class of 2021 to shed his black stripe.
“He joined us kinda late, but he bought into the culture ASAP,” assistant strength and conditioning coach Chris Fenelon said before removing Tuimoloau's black stripe. “He runs to the ball, he plays hard.”
Despite just arriving at Ohio State in July after a lengthy recruiting process, Tuimoloau has turned heads in his first 10 practices as a Buckeye, putting himself in position to earn early playing time as a freshman. Ryan Day said Monday that Tuimoloau was getting up to speed quickly.
“The feedback I’m getting from (defensive line coach Larry) Johnson and from the other coaches in the meeting room, but then also what I see on the field, is a tremendous attention to detail,” Day said. “Very conscientious. Takes a lot of notes. Can take a meeting to the field in short order. And so because of that, he’s made up a lot of ground in a very short amount of time.
“So he’s flashed, he’s learning, he still has moments where he’s still not sure exactly where to go or what to do, but you can see certainly the flashes and brilliance of a 272-pound defensive end who can run. But then when he does kind of know exactly what he’s doing, he’s made a lot of plays and we’re having a hard time blocking him.”
Tuimoloau told Eleven Warriors last weekend that even though the pace of Ohio State practices were much faster than he was accustomed to, he was enjoying the process of learning from his coaches and teammates through his first few practices of the preseason.
“The speed of college ball is way different than high school ball, but I think all my boys and the D-line crew is helping me, getting me up to pace and continuing to push me, make me better,” Tuimoloau said. “It’s a great honor just to learn from these dudes. For them to be my big brother and always correct me if I’m doing things wrong or teach me their ways, because they’ve been doing what they’re doing. So just to be around them and to learn from them and just be good friends with them, brothers with them, I love it.”
Tuimoloau, along with running back Evan Pryor, became the ninth and 10th overall members of Ohio State's freshman class of 2021 to have their black stripes removed on Saturday.
Tuimoloau one of three freshmen to lose their black stripes after 10 practices or fewer this year, joining Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jack Sawyer.
|MARVIN HARRISON JR.