COLUMBUS — The spotlight isn’t necessarily supposed to find Tommy Togiai at Ohio State.
The role is generally a thankless one in the middle of the defensive line, so even guys with surefire NFL potential and superhuman strength can get overlooked while doing the dirty work that sets up teammates to rack up individual stats. That’s always been just fine with Togiai, and the success of the Buckeyes is all that matters to him anyway.
But Togiai is quickly proving to be the exception to the nose-tackle rule. And through three games he’s posting the kind of numbers that not only draw attention, they’re also making it quite easy to see just how critical he is for the Silver Bullets.
“I think I just bring a high motor, high energy to the defense,” Togiai said. “I try to make plays when I can, and I try to bring that energy [up front] so it spreads throughout the rest of the defense. If somebody can make a play on the defensive line, especially sacks or something like that, that brings energy.
“I’m really just trying to do the best I can to try to drive the defense.”
Togiai is providing more than just fuel for the Buckeyes, he’s absolutely wrecking opposing game plans and emerging into a dominant force in the trenches. His team-leading three sacks are obviously a bit surprising considering all the pass-rushing firepower at Ohio State, but it’s really the fact that he’s now third on the team in tackles that jumps off the stats sheet to show just how impactful he’s been for the defense as a a whole.
The scary part for the rest of the Big Ten: Togiai is only getting better.
What is fueling the rise of Tommy Togiai for Ohio State? When was the turning point for the junior who has always had the strength to play at defensive tackle? Where can Togiai still get even more dangerous for the Buckeyes? Former Ohio State defensive tackle and Togiai teammate Robert Landers was back in the Lettermen Row film lab to break it down and answer those questions in the latest episode of BuckIQ.
Roll the tape!
Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward contributed the editorial content for this post.