Today is National Signing Day 2021. Most of the major recruits have been locked in with their new schools since the early signing period in December, with others making things official today. Not everyone was ready to make a decision though, including one of the biggest players in the entire class, five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau.
247Sports‘ composite rankings have Tuimoloau as the No. 3 overall recruit, and second-ranked defensive end in the country. The site’s own rankings are even more bullish, with him at No. 1 overall.
While today is Signing Day, players aren’t required to have a decision today. In fact, they don’t need to sign a National Letter of Intent at any point, if they’re comfortable skipping that part of things. It sounds for Tuimoloau is going to take his recruitment into the spring.
“He, on the early signing period, named his final five of Alabama, Ohio State, Washington, Oregon and USC,” 247’s Brandon Huffman told The Dan Patrick Show today. “So you have three Pac-12 schools relatively close to home, one being the hometown Huskies, another being Oregon which is just down the road, USC where his family is largely from Southern California, then you have the two teams playing for the National Championship. And it’s really been those two teams out in front for him, Alabama and Ohio State.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 27, 2021
“Part of the reason he’s waiting is with the NCAA dead period, he has never had a chance to visit Columbus, he still has not been out to Ohio State,” Huffman explained. “He did camp at Alabama when he was a sophomore so he wants to get back down to Tuscaloosa and get out to Columbus with his family to see both those schools. He’s more familiar with the Pac-12 schools but we’re at least two months away from him making a decision.”
Alabama, which dominates recruiting just about every year, already locked up the highest ranked class in history. Adding a talent like Tuimoloau would be adding insult to injury for the rest of the sport.
Ohio State is in at No. 2 as of today, while Oregon is the top Pac-12 program at No. 6 in the nation. USC is ranked No. 8, and Washington is at No. 35 for this recruiting cycle.