Adam Friedman contributed to this report.
It was a surprise that five-star defensive end Tunmise Adeleye de-committed from Ohio State on Tuesday for a few reasons. First, the Buckeyes rarely lose elite prospects, especially when they’re already committed. Second, Adeleye was not showing any serious indications that he was rethinking his pledge. And third, in a time of uncertainty surrounding every part of college football, locking up a spot at a high-end school like Ohio State looked preferable.
Instead, Adeleye is back on the market with Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida expected to be the frontrunners. It could create a domino effect for Ohio State’s recruiting at defensive end as the heat is turned up on other prospects in the coming months.
What’s next with J.T. Tuimoloau?
Ohio State has always been a frontrunner for the Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic standout and whether Adeleye was or was not in the Buckeyes’ recruiting class the Big Ten power would remain a serious contender in his recruitment. But the five-star defensive end is also in a unique position because he was waiting to take a lot of visits and now with the shutdown continuing that might not be possible.
Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, Washington and Oklahoma are some of the schools high on his list. A source told me Tuimoloau is focused only on training and getting better right now, not the whims of the day-to-day recruiting world and that Ohio State remains high for him.
Malone becomes more of a priority
Although they don’t play exactly the same position since Adeleye is a strong-side defensive end and Malone is a defensive tackle, loading up across the defensive line is important and Ohio State could come even harder after Malone now. The Buckeyes are considered on top, but Malone keeps talking about other schools including Ole Miss, Texas A&M and others. The four-star could also be in the earlier stages of his decision-making process because baseball is a serious factor in his recruitment and travel ball – along with coronavirus – have slowed things down.
Two others to watch
If Ohio State is getting good indications from Tuimoloau and Malone, the Buckeyes could easily just stick with those two especially since five-star DE Jack Sawyer and four-star DT Michael Hall are already committed, but that doesn’t eliminate other names.
Four-star defensive tackle and Maryland commit Marcus Bradley just reaffirmed his pledge but saying yes to the Terps and no to the Buckeyes might be tough if they push. Four-star DE Aaron Armitage from Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy is high on USC and Stanford, but a national power close to him could be intriguing.