Paris Johnson, a 2020 five-star offensive tackle from Cincinnati St. Xavier, committed to Ohio State late Thursday night. It was a sigh of relief for Buckeye fans, as 2018 five-star tackle Jackson Carman from Fairfield abandoned Ohio for Clemson in the previous cycle.
Johnson tweeted his reasoning shortly thereafter:
the best in the Ohio, go to Ohio State. simple. you agree #BuckeyeNation?— Paris Johnson Jr. (@ParisJohnsonJr) June 29, 2018
While that certainly makes for a great recruiting slogan, Johnson's reasoning for choosing Ohio State went deeper than home-state ties. He elaborated in a Saturday interview with his hometown paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer:
"I feel like the staff at Ohio State is just unbelievable," said Johnson, who also received offers from schools like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, Florida State, Texas and USC. "Learning under coach Stud (Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa) and coach (Urban) Meyer and building relationships with coaches like (assistant head) coach (Larry) Johnson and the players at the university I've built a relationship with.
"I've spent a lot of time with them. It feels like each time I'm up there it felt like I wasn't just a recruit or a visitor but I was welcome back each time. I did feel at home there."
Getting in on a prospect early and developing a relationship is the name of the game, only a handful of schools do it as well as Urban Meyer and his staff.
Perhaps most interestingly, Johnson, who was seemingly sculpted in a lab to play left tackle, did not take to football immediately. He played six sports before stepping onto the gridiron, where he first played wide receiver and quarterback.
"The first sport I played was hockey and then I played baseball, soccer, wrestling, tried to swim, and I did track," said Johnson, who played defensive end his freshman year at St. X. "I've played corner, running back, quarterback – I've played every position. I tell people I used to play wide receiver prior to coming to St. X and they don't believe me."
A 6-7, 285-pound quarterback would have been a sight to behold. But you can't fault Johnson for making the switch to lineman. Though it seems he has the football IQ to play QB in a pinch.
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