Larry Johnson, Sr. had been the defensive line coach at Penn State for several years. During his reign he had produced multiple top-tier NFL talents such as Devon Still, Courtney Brown, Jared Odrick, Aaron Maybin, Tamba Hali, Jimmy Kennedy, and Anthony Adams.
His reputation for developing talent at the position has been well documented but he will also be a force on the recruiting trail. Johnson had been one of the ace recruiters on the Penn State staff for Joe Paterno, and more recently Bill O'Brien.
He will now take those skills to Columbus.
Johnson's strongest areas of influence for recruitment purposes have been Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Ohio State already has an elite recruiter designated for the mid-atlantic region in wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and the two of them will now form a dynamic duo on the east coast.
The new Buckeye assistant doesn't just leave his mark in those three states. Johnson was also responsible for Brooklyn's Thomas Holley's verbal commitment to Penn State. His presence on the staff could re-insert Ohio State into the mix for Holley's services.
One of the first duties for new Buckeye assistant Larry Johnson, Sr. will be to ensure that Jalyn Holmes stays in the fold. He won't have any problems as a relationship has already been forged from Johnson's time with the Nittany Lions' program.
"He recruited me before and he knows my area very well," said Holmes. "He's real close with my high school coaching staff. I'm definitely on board with the hire. Him and Coach Smith could dominate recruiting in the Virginia area. They also have me as a recruiter, too."
Malik McDowell, Derrick Nnadi, and Solomon Thomas are also top targets in the 2014 class along the defensive line for Ohio State.
The most important aspect of the Buckeyes' pursuit of McDowell will be the official visit at the end of January. It is key that his future position coach will be in place when he returns to Columbus to have the opportunity to form a relationship. Johnson recruited Nnadi at Penn State, which will keep the Buckeyes in the mix. I still expect him to stay close to home to play for Virginia Tech. They'll take another run at Solomon Thomas with Johnson at the helm but I expect it to end with the five-star defensive end signing with Stanford in February.
The 2015 class will be where Johnson's impact is felt the most. A few top targets for the class have already commented on the impact Johnson's presence at Ohio State will have on their recruitments.
"I had lunch with Coach Johnson on my visit to Penn State," said four-star offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins. "He was great to talk to and it's clear that he's a top coach. Ohio State's staff is top-notch."
"It's a great hire," commented Virginia offensive tackle Austin Clark. "He's spent so long at Penn State turning defensive linemen into professionals. He'll make Ohio State better. He doesn't coach my position but it definitely makes Ohio State more appealing."
"Coach Johnson recruited me when he was at Penn State," four-star defensive end Jashon Cornell told Scout. "He's a great coach and it gives me a little bit of a better feeling about Ohio State."
"Larry Johnson going to Ohio State is perfect!!!," tweeted five-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry.
Five-star Manassas (VA) Stonewall Jackson defensive tackle Tim Settle confirmed that Larry Johnson, Sr. was his main recruiter during his stint at Penn State. Settle is the top player in the nation for the 2015 class.
Settle's mentor, John Harris, shared his thoughts on Ohio State's hire of Larry Johnson, Sr. and the possible impact it could have on the Virginia junior.
"Larry is the man," Harris said. "Everyone loves him in Virginia. He will help them big time with Tim, especially if he recruits the mid-atlantic with Zach Smith."
Stay with Scout as we continue to bring the recruiting news following the hires of Ohio State's new defensive assistants.
Larry Johnson, Sr. to OSU: Recruiting Impact
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