Johnson packs up for WVU

ATHENS – David Johnson is heading home, leaving his job as Georgia's tight ends coach to become the offensive line coach at West Virginia, his alma mater.

"This is a bittersweet day in some respects," Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by Georgia. "(Johnson) and his family have been a blessing to our program. At the same time, we're excited for the opportunity he has in returning to his alma mater. Everything he has done at Georgia has been done with excellence, and we wish him and his family the best. We will certainly miss him."

Richt was on the road recruiting Wednesday and could not be reached to discuss the timetable he has for naming Johnson's replacement.

The timing and the hire could be pivotal because Georgia has a verbal commitment from Dwayne Allen of Fayetteville, N.C. Allen is ranked the eighth-best tight end in the country by

"I would like to thank Coach Mark Richt and the University of Georgia for seven great years," Johnson said in a statement released by West Virginia. "I am leaving a great University, and I wish them continued success for years to come."

Johnson, who coached tight ends at Georgia for seven years, applied for the offensive line coaching job last year before Richt hired Stacy Searels to coach that position. Johnson will be joining the staff of Bill Stewart, who was named to replace Rich Rodriquez.

"I am excited to come back home to West Virginia University and work on an outstanding staff that Bill Stewart is putting together," Johnson said. "The reasons that I am coming to West Virginia are the same reasons that I went there as a student-athlete years ago. The University is an outstanding institution with a tremendous amount of potential, both academically and athletically. Bill Stewart is a man of high integrity as was Frank Cignetti, who I played for years ago. Both are quality leaders who have tremendous vision and the ability to coach football."

Johnson was a four-year letter winner with the Mountaineers and started at center on two West Virginia bowl teams (1981 Peach and 1982 Gator). He is the fourth former West Virginia player to join Stewart's staff.

"I'm excited that David is coming back home to rejoin the Mountaineer football family," Stewart said in West Virginia's statement. "He brings an extensive knowledge of the game and years of experience that will be an asset to our program. David has all the intangibles you look for in a coach, leadership, charisma and loyalty. He pays complete attention to detail, has an outstanding ability to communicate effectively and has an exceptional ability to stress the fundamentals to the players. I look forward to working with him for years to come."

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