Washington football needs to do whatever they can to land the number one player in the country
Washington football has a lot to offer for the nation’s number one recruit, J.T. Tuimoloau. They have a strong Polynesian culture, an opportunity to provide a world-class education, the hometown hero label, and now, an opportunity to play basketball. On Thursday, Mike Hopkins became the first college coach to offer him an opportunity to play basketball as well.
Tuimoloau made it very clear to Brandon Huffman in a 247 Sports article that his goal is to play both sports at the next level, and Mike Hopkins has just given him his best opportunity yet to achieve that goal. While he probably has been told that he’s able to walk on at other schools, setting aside a roster spot on the basketball team is a unique opportunity.
Tuimoloau is a legitimate D-1 basketball recruit, and projects as an undersized forward. He averages a double-double with Eastside Catholic (Wash.), and also plays on Seattle’s most exclusive AAU team alongside five-star power forward recruit Paolo Banchero.
Would Tuimoloau start for the basketball team? Probably not, but he does have the ability to be an impact player down low for Hopkins’ team. He’s a force in the low post, and has the necessary strength to box out pretty much anyone he’s matched up with for a rebound. He can also step back and consistently drain shots from the midrange, which is something Hopkins’ offense desperately needs right now.
Tuimoloau has also made it clear he’ll be signing his NLI to play football, but this could possibly could give Washington a leg up in his recruitment. The question is, will other schools like Ohio State and USC follow suit? To be frank, Jimmy Lake and staff can’t let anyone else steal Tuimoloau out of his backyard during his first recruiting cycle as a head coach, and Hopkins is giving them a huge opportunity to land him.
A top 10 recruiting class needs to be the goal for the coaching staff, and Hopkins just proved that it takes everyone to reel that in.