Although he was strongly considering Ohio State, former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o announced on Saturday afternoon he will be transferring to Alabama, where he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.
A former four-star prospect from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, To’o To’o is widely regarded as one of the nation’s best linebackers despite playing for the Volunteers, who went 11-12 over the last two seasons. He’s appeared in all 23 games, including 22 starts, and recorded 148 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and 1.5 sacks during that span.
To’o To’o entered his name into the transfer portal in January, shortly after Tennessee fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt amid an investigation into recruiting violations under his watch.
He’s one of more than 30 Volunteers who have entered the portal this offseason, a list that includes quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano (Washington State) and J.T. Shrout (Colorado), running back Eric Gray (Oklahoma), offensive tackle Wanya Morris (Oklahoma), linebacker Quavaris Crouch (Michigan State) and safety Keshawn Lawrence (Oklahoma), among others.
The Buckeyes and linebackers coach Al Washington were hoping that To’o To’o would step into a starting role in Columbus alongside seniors Dallas Gant and Teradja Mitchell as the Buckeyes look to replace the departed Tuf Borland, Baron Browning and Pete Werner, as well as another key contributor in Justin Hilliard.
They'll instead have to rely upon a group that includes senior K'Vaughan Pope, sophomores Craig Young, Cody Simon and Tommy Eichenberg, redshirt freshman Mitchell Melton and true freshman Reid Carrico to fill that void.
That said, Ohio State’s lack of depth at linebacker is well-noted and was such an issue this spring that long snapper Roen McCullough had to moonlight at the position during the spring game.
The staff will certainly continue to assess its options with the transfer portal, but the only other notable name in the portal at this time is former USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, the cousin of defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, and he’s reportedly on the verge of committing to Texas.
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