[This is the fifth in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is offensive guard Enokk Vimahi.]
Enokk Vimahi came to Ohio State from Kahuku High School in Kahuku, Hawaii, which made him the first Hawaiian Buckeye since punter Scott Terna in 1994. Vimahi was a High School All-American who was ranked the No. 7 guard in the 2019 class per the 247Sports Composite. He was the No. 124 player overall and the No. 2 player in his state (Faatui Tuitele, Washington). He signed with Ohio State over offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Washington, Dartmouth, and others.
There is a reason there have only been two players from Hawaii on an Ohio State roster in at least the last 25 years and that’s because the distance is usually too much for either party to overcome.
For one, a player has to be interested in the Buckeyes, and for two, they have to be demonstrably interested, because Ohio State isn’t going to make that kind of time and financial investment simply because a kid from Hawaii wants to experience the beauty and wonder of Columbus, Ohio.
Now, however, times are changing.
“I also think that the world has gotten smaller,” Buckeye head coach Ryan Day said on signing day in December. “I think with the internet, with just the way the world is now, no matter where you go and they see that Block O, it’s unbelievable, it doesn’t matter. When we went out to see Enokk Vimahi, there were people in Hawaii that recognized me right away, and that was before I had coached a game.”
Vimahi got to Columbus in the summer and arrived weighing in the neighborhood of 270 pounds. Obviously, that was too light for major college football, but by the time the Buckeyes were midway through fall camp he was already at 295 pounds.
Even after adding the weight, the staff still loved how well he moved and he never lost his quickness.
Vimahi saw action in three games in 2019, which allowed him to redshirt. He earned snaps in the Buckeyes’ annual blowouts against Maryland, Rutgers, and Michigan.
Now What For Enokk Vimahi
Originally planning to take two years off following last season for a Church mission, Vimahi has instead decided to remain and move those mission plans further down the road. Day and Ohio State were going to be supportive of his decision either way, but with him sticking around for now, Vimahi will be able to continuously improve his game without having to relearn it following a two-year absence.
Ohio State must replace starter Jonah Jackson this coming season, so Vimahi will find himself in that competition with a number of other interior offensive linemen. As a redshirt freshman, he is not expected to win the job, but a spot in the two-deep this coming season wouldn’t be a surprise.
Come 2021, however, there may be an opening at right guard and Vimahi could very well be the favorite to win that job when the time comes.