Buckeyes Say Bye-Bye to Lonnie Johnson
By Michael Chung
Players fall in love with a school—commit—fall out of love, and then de-commit. Such is the saga of one time OSU verbal pledge Lonnie Johnson.
Johnson made his de-commitment official per his Twitter: “I’ve officially de-committed from OSU, sorry fans but it happened.”
Originally the eighth recruit for the 2014 class committing in May, Johnson becomes the second (if you count Lawrence Marshall) to officially de-commit from the 2014 class.
The writing was on the wall early as Johnson posted on his Twitter: “Going to visit Western Michigan on the 16th.”
Though it is not uncommon for players to take visits after they commit, the fact that Johnson was so open about it made one wonder if his days as a Buckeye verbal were numbered. Not only is Western Michigan on the docket, but also schools like Cincinnati and South Florida are also reportedly on his radar.
Back in May, Johnson fulfilled his dream about being a Buckeye.
Mike Hutton of the Post Tribune writes, “Lonnie Johnson wants to be a Buckeye. The 6-3, 180-pound cornerback/wide receiver for West Side has always wanted to play for Ohio State since he was a little kid. Something about the scarlet and gray that makes him go crazy. . . . “I just like the fast pace of their offense,” Johnson said. Johnson might be getting ahead himself with the Buckeye dream.”
Hutton goes on to write, “With 4.4 speed and at 6-3 (many corners are under 6-0), he could be one of a kind. . . . “I think he’d be a good wide receiver but there aren’t too many 6-3 cornerbacks in the league. I think that could be a gold mine.” Jason said that Lonnie’s feet are nimble and shifty enough to play a position that is not easy to learn, let alone get good at.”
At 6’3” with blazing speed, Johnson possessed the freakish athleticism Urban Meyer covets. Johnson could have been a WR or DB, similar to Gareon Conley, but now, Johnson will look elsewhere.
With 17 commitments for 2014, OSU will now focus on filling Johnson’s spot with either a DB, WR, or the best available athlete. It could also mean OSU will take up to six offensive lineman for 2014.
Johnson told me that the decision was best for he and his family; the reason behind his de-commitment was that his heart was no longer into Ohio State and felt he had to de-commit. I asked if there were any other schools he would visit other than Western Michigan, Cincinnati, and South Florida and he said he was not sure but will take his time to make his decision. He said he would like to make a final commitment sometime in December or January and did not indicate he would go all the way to National Signing Day. Playing time was not an issue for him, he has confidence he could “hang” with anyone, his heart was just not Buckeye anymore.
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