The Buckeyes received some good news on Monday when Ohio State junior wide receiver Chris Olave announced that he was returning to OSU for his senior season, but an hour later received some tough news when junior nose tackle Tommy Togiai announced his departure for the NFL.
Togiai is seen by many as a possible second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, which seemingly turned out to be too much to pass up.
As a junior in 2020, Togiai finished eighth on the Buckeyes with 23 tackles and second with 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. All three of his sacks came in the win at Penn State.
Togiai missed the national championship game against Alabama because of a presumed positive COVID test.
Togiai was named a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection this past season, which was his first as a starter for the Buckeyes. He spent his first two seasons in a reserve rotational role behind DaVon Hamilton and Robert Landers, but was still very important to the Ohio State defense.
With his departure, the Buckeyes will be looking for a new nose tackle to step up and the options aren’t many. Jerron Cage should be returning as a fifth-year senior, but he will likely be the only player with any kind of experience at nose for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes could receive a huge boost up front should senior defensive tackle Haskell Garrett announce his return. As a four-year player, Garrett doesn’t need to announce his intention by the January 18 underclassman deadline. The NFL would like any four-year players who will be utilizing the free year granted by the NCAA and returning to school to make it known by March 1 so that teams can remove them from their draft preparation.
Also, junior defensive end Tyreke Smith announced his return Monday evening.