Jim Knowles and the Ohio State defense are off to a hot start in the 2023 season. A major weapon for the unit is defense end JT Tuimoloau who has shined for his versatility with the unit.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Knowles was asked about Tuimoloau’s ability to play a key role in the run defense. The DC praised Tuimoloau for the combination of size and athletic ability he brings, particularly being able to maneuver at the line of scrimmage.

“It’s a strength combined with athleticism. He’s strong enough to defeat any block at the point of attack but he’s also athletic enough to maneuver in the trenches on stunts or twists or different assignments that we give him,” said Knowles. “And he’s football smart, he’s really a complete player.”

Knowles was asked a follow-up on Tuimoloau on whether or not the DC tries to move the defender around or leave him alone. While Knowles likes the potential versatility of Tuimoloau, he noted the best thing to do right now is to leave him alone as he’s excelling at the tasks in front of him.

“Gotta leave him alone, let him do what he does. He’s excelling at his position, he understands the position. He has great football intelligence,” Knowles explained. “He’s a weapon, we can certainly do other things with him, but he’s performing well at what he’s doing.”

So far this season, Tuimoloau has 17 total tackles. He’s tied for the team lead with 1.5 sacks and tied for second on the Buckeyes with 2.5 TFL. After shining with 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks against Maryland, Tuimoloau and the defense prepare for a road trip to Purdue.