Four-star OL commits to Buckeyes
Enokk Vimahi backed off his plan to reveal a college destination during the Polynesian Bowl last month so he could take one last official visit before national signing day and, as it turned out, that trip changed everything.
The four-star offensive lineman from Kahuku, Hawaii, announced his commitment to Ohio State on national signing day, less than two weeks after getting his first and only look at Columbus. Vimahi picked the Buckeyes over finalists USC and Oklahoma.
“The coaches came out to Hawaii last week really excited to make that trip to meet with me and that meant a lot,” Vimahi told 247Sports. “The whole deal was that I showed my interest in Ohio State and how serious I was in the program by taking the late official visit, so they wanted to show the same to me by coming all the way out here, which was very humbling. Coach Ryan Day came with the presentation for my dad because he wasn't able to come on the official and we had great talks with coach Stud (Greg Studrawa). They also told me that they were winding down to the end of recruiting and being one of the last, or even the last guy they saw, showed me how much they think of me as a student-athlete.”
The Buckeyes surged in the battle in recent weeks and were the last to offer, doing so in early January while the 6-foot-5, 265-pound lineman was in San Antonio for the All-American Bowl. He took an official to Oklahoma just prior to his stay at the Polynesian Bowl, where he initially intended to reveal his decision inside Aloha Stadium on Jan. 19, but backed off those plans so he could see what Ohio State had to offer.
“One of the biggest things about Ohio State was being able to make a name for himself,” Vimahi’s father, Dave, told 247Sports. “He would be, really, the first kid from a Hawaii high school to sign there. They got Haskell Garrett recently, who is originally from Hawaii by the way of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Enokk liked the thought of being uncommon.
“USC has been touting the idea of continuing the Polynesian pipeline, associating with the culture and obviously that's great and we embrace it, but Enokk enjoys being outside his comfort zone. He wants to be successful anywhere and comfortable anywhere. He loves the idea of starting a Hawaiian pipeline to Ohio State and loves everything about the program, including real-life Wednesdays where they can get experience from former players. He loves the history of the program and the idea of having his own identity. It’s kind of like when Manti Te’o decided to skip USC to go to Notre Dame. Enokk identifies with that, just being able to make a name for himself.”
Day and Studrawa had the final in-home meeting last week, stopping by the North Shore of Oahu last Thursday, and closed strong to beat out one-time favorite USC.
Vimahi, the nation's No. 7-rated offensive guard in the 2019 class per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite rankings, sits at No. 2 among prospects in the state of Hawaii and No. 124 nationally. He has the versatility to play a variety of spots along the offensive line, showing toughness and physically in the run game but also proving his worth as a pass protector on the edge. His brother, Aliki, signed with Utah in the 2017 class.
Vimahi, who intends to embark on a two-year church mission in the winter of 2020 after the conclusion of his first semester in Columbus, said the Buckeyes see him fitting in at either offensive tackle or guard, depending on how he grows physically.