Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland has a fun name. He's also good at football

Joe Harrington
Buckeye Xtra

Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland has been a fixture for the Buckeye defense since 2017 and he has become a fan favorite and a three-time team captain. 

Borland joined the ranks of J.T. Barrett when he was named a three-time captain in August. 

“It’s very humbling,” Borland said in a conference call during the preseason. “I’m honored to be with a guy like J.T., who was an unbelievable leader here for a number of years.”

On the 2020 Butkus Award Preseason Watch List to start the season, Borland has recorded 16 tackles this season in three games and entered the Indiana game with 196 career tackles for the Buckeyes.

Entering the season, Borland had played in 44 games and has added four more to that number. Borland was called into action in 2017 when he debuted against Army and hasn't looked back. 

Borland’s 12 tackles against Army in 2017 were the most by an Ohio State freshman since Ryan Shazier had 15 in a 2011 game against Penn State.

And yes, his name actually is "Tuf."

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Here are a few things to know about Tuf Borland. 

Why is he named Tuf Borland

Borland's father Kyle explained the name to the Columbus Dispatch in 2018.

Kyle Borland, a former linebacker at Wisconsin, in the USFL and for the 1987 season with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, not only wanted his first son to have a last name to live up to, he gave him a first name to aspire to, with the blessing of his wife. 

“When I first started with Riddell (the football helmet and sporting goods producer), there was a rep for us, a coworker, who was based in Montana, and his name was Tuff, T-U-F-F,” Borland said, referring to Tuff Toldness of Missoula. “I always kind of liked it, and I threw it out there as kind of a joke to my wife, and she said, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool.’”

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What is Tuf Borland's full name?

His first name is Jarred Tuf Borland and he encouraged his parents to drop the "Jarred" in grade school. 

Tuf Borland is more than just a name

On top of being a key member of the Buckeyes' defense, Borland graduated in December 2019 with a degree in human development and family science. 

He has been a mainstay on the Big Ten's Academic All-American team since joining the program. 

Is Tuf Borland from Ohio? Where did he play in high school?

Borland is from Illinois where he played for Bolingbrook High School and helped them advance to the playoffs for four straight season. He was a two-time All-State selection. 

He enrolled at Ohio State in 2016.