Freshman defensive tackle Tommy Togiai is the first member of the 2018 recruiting class to lose his black stripe.
Ohio State announced that Togiai was now officially a member of the program late Wednesday morning.
The black stripe is a tradition that Urban Meyer brought with him to Ohio State.
New players in the program don’t immediately get to wear the traditional red and white stripe down the middle of their helmets. Instead, they have to earn it by showing a strong work ethic and dedication to the team.
And that’s exactly what Togiai did this spring.
“He just did everything right,” Meyer said. “It’s hard. Ryan Stamper, my player development guy, watches very closely. It’s something that we don’t take lightly. He’s got a wonderful family, all the way from Idaho, to come this far away, and to be the first black stripe guy, that’s a heck of an honor. He just did everything right. He practices really hard and takes care of his academics. He’s a great guy to have on your team.”
Togiai has been impressive during the limited opportunities that reporters have had to watch practice this spring as well.
He’s a 6-foot-2, 300 lb interior lineman who was rated as the 55th-best player overall in the 2018 class and the third-best defensive tackle.
Togiai hails from Pocotello, Idaho, which is not exactly prime recruiting territory for the Buckeyes. But Togiai said he got interested in Ohio State very early in his recruitment.
He committed to OSU in December, setting off a wild celebration for Meyer and defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
He enrolled early at Ohio State, and immediately got to work earning a spot in the defensive line rotation.
Being the first freshman to lose your black stripe is generally a good sign for your chances at playing time in the fall.
In 2017, running back J.K. Dobbins was the first member of his freshman class to lose his stripe. He started the season opener at Indiana and rushed for more than 1,400 yards as a true freshman.
Thanks to a loaded depth chart at defensive tackle, Togiai will have a tougher route to playing time than Dobbins did.
However, he’ll have a chance to prove he belongs on the field at Saturday’s Spring Game.
OSU tweeted out a short video saluting Togiai for losing his stripe.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) April 11, 2018