In order to be an assistant on the Ohio State football coaching staff, one must be able to recruit. There’s a reason why OSU head coach Urban Meyer has hauled in recruiting classes that have been ranked in the top 10 annually since he came to Columbus prior to the 2012 season.
One assistant on Meyer’s staff who unquestionably has a knack for reeling in heralded high school prospects is assistant head coach and defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Johnson has held those titles ever since he joined Meyer’s staff after the 2013 season. He has helped the Buckeye head coach land prospects like five-star defensive end Nick Bosa out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale Fla., and four-star defensive end Jonathon Cooper from Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln.
Bosa, who is the younger brother of former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, was the No. 1 recruit at his position in the 2016 class as well as the No. 5 overall player. Cooper, meanwhile, was rated as the sixth-best defensive end and the No. 35 overall prospect in the same class.
The latest example of Johnson’s recruiting magic is manifested in 2017 four-star defensive tackle Jerron Cage out of Cincinnati Winton Woods.
“Every big program has got something, but something for me was Coach Johnson,” Cage told Scout on Wednesday. “Coach Johnson is an unbelievable coach. Ever since I met him it was just automatic love from me to him and my family. As soon as my dad met him, he was just like, ‘Oh, my God, yes, I love this man.’”
Cage’s father, Adrian, admires Johnson’s demeanor.
“Larry Johnson is amazing – his personality, how he comes across,” the older Cage told Scout on Wednesday. “He gives an understanding of what he’s supposed to do. He’s a real leader, he is. That’s really important.”
Cage (6-3, 280) checks in at No. 16 among defensive tackles in the 2017 class, but is not ranked by Scout in the top 300 overall recruits of the class. What impressed him the most with Johnson is the fact that the relationship built between the two wasn’t predicated on discussing X’s and O’s.
“It’s not even about football. It’s about life, just getting be able to know the other coaches and other players.”
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