On Deep OSU Defensive Line, Freshman DTs Expected to Play

Larry Johnson, Tommy Togiai Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Ohio State signed three highly-coveted defensive tackles in the 2018 recruiting class. Junior college transfer Antwuan Jackson may have been the most well known, but freshmen Tommy Togiai (No. 3) and Taron Vincent (No. 1) were two of the top three defensive tackles in the class.

They will find themselves in a defensive line room with arguably more defensive tackles than one program needs.

Fourth-year juniors Dre’Mont Jones, Robert Landers, and Davon Hamilton are joined by redshirt sophomore Malik Barrow, sophomore Haskell Garrett, and redshirt freshman Jerron Cage. Add in Jackson, Togiai, and Vincent, and you may not even have enough chairs for the room.

For a true freshman to crack that lineup and play this season would be quite an accomplishment, but that’s exactly what defensive line coach Larry Johnson thinks will happen.

Vincent will arrive in the summer and bring 5-star accolades with him. Togiai enrolled in the winter and played well enough in the spring that he had his black stripe removed.

Togiai played so well, in fact, that he actually surprised Johnson.

“He did. He really did,” Johnson said. “I saw his video tape and saw him practice and saw what he could do, and then he walked in here and he was everything you hoped to get out of the Cracker Jack box. That prize you want to get? You have to make sure it’s really cool, and it was really cool to see what he is all about. You saw emotion, you saw excitement, and I am tickled to death with where he is at.”

Vincent won’t arrive until this summer, but he brings talent, drive, determination, and an NFL pedigree. As the top defensive tackle recruit in the nation, Vincent carries lofty expectations with him wherever he goes.

“I think Taron is going to come in and challenge,” Johnson said. “He has got a really good skill set. Very physical player, very athletic. Really high IQ for football, so he understands the game really well. He will come in here and compete. I see him playing.”

Both Vincent and Togiai are expected to line up at the same three-technique spot as Dre’Mont Jones. This will also pit them against sophomores Haskell Garrett and Malik Barrow. While Barrow and Garrett are still in the early stages of proving themselves, the experience they have gained as Buckeyes will be an advantage.

If Tommy Togiai or Taron Vincent are good enough to play, however, there is always going to be a spot for them in the game plan regardless of what the depth chart looks like. And that is exactly what Larry Johnson is expecting to happen.