Penn State's Johnson Staying Put

Defensive line coach had talked to Illinois. In the end, he decided to stick with the Lions.

He was staying. He was going. He was staying. He was going.

In the end, Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson opted to turn down an offer to become defensive coordinator at Illinois to remain in Happy Valley. The Harrisburg Patriot-News broke the story Thursday afternoon, citing anonymous sources at Penn State.

FOS sources confirmed the news within the last hour.

Last week, FOS broke the news that Johnson was being pursued by the Illini and intended to visit Champaign to talk about working under Ron Zook. Sources said he made the trip over the weekend, but was back at work at Penn State Monday.

At that time, Lion head coach Joe Paterno was out of the office attending a coaching convention. Paterno did not have a chance to meet with Johnson until Wednesday.

As of Wednesday evening, multiple sources close to the program anticipated Johnson would leave.

By Thursday afternoon, however, the rest of the staff was reportedly told Johnson would return.

Johnson just finished his 13th season on the PSU staff. He is considered one of Paterno's better recruiters, and the news of his return is well-timed considering the Lions will have prospects on campus the next two weekends.


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