Larry Johnson Will Return To Ohio State As Associate Head Coach

Ohio State Buckeyes football Larry Johnson

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who was an integral part of Urban Meyer’s coaching staff, will return to the Buckeyes under new head coach Ryan Day.

OSU announced Monday that Johnson will serve as Defensive Line coach and Associate Head Coach in 2019.

The school characterized the move as a promotion from his previous role as Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line coach.

Johnson came to Ohio State in 2014 after working the previous 18 seasons as an assistant at Penn State.

He quickly turned the Buckeyes’ defensive line into one of the nation’s best, coaching players like Joey and Nick Bosa, Tyquan Lewis, Dre’Mont Jones, Chase Young, and others.

Johnson is also known as one of the best recruiters on the staff, and has been a key to bringing in 5-star defensive line prospects Zach Harrison and Taron Vincent and 4-star prospects Noah Potter, Tyreke Smith, Tommy Togiai, Tyler Friday, Antwuan Jackson, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste in the last two years alone.

The release announcing Johnson’s return also officially introduced co-Defensive Coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison as Buckeye assistants for 2019.

It made no mention of Taver Johnson, who served as the cornerbacks coach for OSU in 2018, or linebackers coach Bill Davis.

You can read the portion of OSU’s press release centering on Johnson below.

Johnson has been promoted to associate head coach and will be in his sixth season with the program coaching the defensive line. 

Johnson is established as one of the great defensive line coaches in football. He joined the Ohio State staff in January of 2014 and helped the Buckeyes win the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship later that year.

He has coached, remarkably, 14 Big Ten Conference defensive players of the year or defensive linemen of the year, including a run of four consecutive Ohio State winners of the league’s defensive linemen of the year award: Joey Bosa in 2014 and 2015; Tyquan Lewis in 2016 and Nick Bosa in 2017. Joey Bosa was also named the league’s defensive player of the year in 2014.

Johnson has also coached 11 first-team All-Americans, seven first-round NFL draft picks with Nick Bosa certainly going to add to this total during the 2019 NFL Draft in April. Former Buckeye Sam Hubbard is one of four Academic All-Americans coached by Johnson.

“Larry’s experience at Ohio State will allow him to have a major role in the guidance and direction of this program,” Day said. “His promotion to associate head coach is well earned. Larry is a wonderful teacher and mentor, and his players always become a part of his family. I am thrilled that he will continue to be a part of this program.” 

8 Responses

  1. LJ is the best in the business. So far that’s the only hire on the defensive side that makes sense. Mattison and Hafley are not the answer for a Buckeye defense.

  2. pay him what ever he wants – he deserves it. woody once said you win with people. johnson gets you good people and makes them better people.And he is good people! Have you ever heard any recruit ever say anything bad about him during his entire career?

  3. Wisest choice so far….Johnson is THE main asst coach we needed to keep and glad he will play a larger role!

  4. Bold prediction of the day – Marcus Freeman replaces Bill Davis

  5. Wonderful Move! Great coach, motivator and recruiter, Our back up DL even brought pain and havoc to WA late in the Rose bowl. No doubt, his DL are easily year in and out the top three in the nation and arguably the deepest. Let’s see how his hands now shapes the back 7.

  6. This is the best staff retention possible. This year’s secondary reflected the results of what happens when quality staff gets away as Kerry Coombs left a year ago. But Coach Johnson staying is very good news!

  7. Pay him 10% above anybody else and keep him forever.

    1. Ditto, Robert. Never EVER let Johnson go!

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