It’s almost inconceivable to consider that the NCAA dead period, which began last March and shut down Ohio State football and recruiting last spring, is still going on.
Yet, it is.
The wild nature of that fact is best exemplified by taking a look at the Recruiting To-Do list Lettermen Row put together a year ago, almost to the day. The second item on that list pointed out how important it was going to be for the Buckeyes to get a top prospect on campus if they wanted to really have a shot at his commitment.
For months there’s been speculation that Ohio State is one of the teams to beat for Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 5-star defensive lineman J.T. Tuimolau. And if that’s the case, then the Buckeyes absolutely need to get the 6-foot-5, 280-pound star on campus this spring.
Maybe that’s not going to happen specifically in March, because the spring game on April 11 would obviously be a good time for it to happen. But the visit has to be set and locked into a specific date so all arrangements can be made.
Maybe it’s cheating, maybe it’s a lay-up, but that is once again a must-do item for Ohio State this March.
Ohio State needs to get visit scheduled for J.T. Tuimoloau
The state of Washington is having a spring football season, and that means that the opportunities for Tuimoloau to visit are few and far between. So while any visit he schedules may not happen until April, it’s vital for the Buckeyes that something get on the books — whenever it can.
The country’s top-ranked 2021 prospect has shown that he’s not going to do anything until he visits Ohio State, and for all the parties involved, the waiting game has to feel like torture.
Getting the visit scheduled sometime soon can provide a bit of relief for everyone who is trying to sort out how this unprecedented recruitment will end.
Buckeyes need to avoid panic button with 11 early commitments
Even in the case of J.T. Tuimoloau, it’s best for Ohio State not to panic if the visit doesn’t get scheduled. But it’s especially vital that the Buckeyes coaching staff keeps steady in its plans and efforts for the Class of 2022. Throughout the month of March there will likely be a number of big-time prospects making decisions, and even for a program like Ohio State F.O.M.O — the fear of missing out — can be a real thing and lead to some less-than-ideal decisions being made.
Ohio State has to be careful not to extend offers just because other schools are if the player in question isn’t truly someone that it’d usually be interested in now. The Buckeyes should not take commitments just because others are pushing.
Spring games around the country are going to be happening, recruits are going to be making visits on their own dimes and seeing games in the SEC/ACC/Big 12 and they won’t be doing that in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes will have to resist the urge to try to play catch up.
Ryan Day’s program has the country’s best 2022 class right now, and the Buckeyes have done that by being patient and not rushing to take any player they didn’t feel 100-percent confident would be the right fit on and off the field. That has to be the case now more than ever.
Ohio State verbals need to cement plans for Buckeyes Bash 2.0
Though the Buckeyes aren’t going to be hosting players on campus until at least June, there’s nothing that stops their class leaders from getting the group together. That’s something that C.J. Hicks, Dasan McCullough, Bennett Christian and others have discussed since December.
It’s time for that group to make it happen and firm up their plans.
Ohio State targets from around the country regularly cite the closeness of the Buckeyes class and the efforts they make in peer-to-peer recruiting as a difference-maker. Getting everyone together in Columbus would go a long way toward solidifying the current commits, and it could bring in other top players such as Kiyaunta Goodwin, Caden Curry, Zach Rice and others.
It’s not ideal that it has to be done this way, and not everyone can afford to spend the weekend flying around the country and staying in hotels. But for the kids that can, it’s going to serve as an important building block as Ohio State moves into the summer.