Taver Johnson is officially returning to Columbus.
Johnson, who was previously Ohio State's cornerbacks coach from 2007-11, was officially re-hired Tuesday as the Buckeyes' new cornerbacks coach, replacing Kerry Coombs.
Johnson comes to Ohio State from Temple, where he was the Owls' defensive coordinator and safeties coach last season.
“I am really pleased to have Taver Johnson join our coaching staff,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in a release. “I’ve known Taver for a long time, going back to our days at Notre Dame, and I think he is a terrific coach and person. He’ll do an excellent job coaching our cornerbacks and mentoring the young men in our program.”
A native of Cincinnati, Johnson was previously Ohio State's cornerbacks coach from 2007 to 2011, where he coached 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner and eventual two-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins and 2010 All-American cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, among others, while working for Jim Tressel and Luke Fickell.
Johnson was initially retained to be a part of Meyer's original Ohio State staff in 2012, but left that position – which was briefly filled by Bill Sheridan before ultimately being filled by Coombs – to become the linebackers coach at Arkansas. After one season coaching linebackers and another season coaching defensive backs for the Razorbacks, he was the defensive backs coach at Purdue from 2014-16.
Meyer and Johnson have previously worked together in 1999, when Meyer was the wide receivers coach and Johnson was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame.
Johnson, who also spent one year in the NFL as the special teams coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, primarily recruited the Cleveland area during his previous stint at Ohio State and has his roots in the Cincinnati area, like Coombs, which should make him a key in-state recruiter for the Buckeyes right off the bat.
|1994-95||WITTENBERG||DEFENSIVE LINE COACH|
|1996-98||MILLIKIN||STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH (96), LINEBACKERS COACH (97), DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR (98)|
|1999||NOTRE DAME||DEFENSIVE GRADUATE ASSISTANT|
|2000-03||MIAMI (OHIO)||LINEBACKERS COACH|
|2004||CLEVELAND BROWNS (NFL)||SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR|
|2005-06||MIAMI (OHIO)||ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR|
|2007-11||OHIO STATE||CORNERBACKS COACH|
|2012-13||ARKANSAS||ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/LINEBACKERS COACH (12), DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH (13)|
|2014-16||PURDUE||DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH|
|2017||TEMPLE||DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/SAFETIES COACH|
|2018-||OHIO STATE||CORNERBACKS COACH|
Johnson is the second assistant coach in two months to leave a defensive coordinator post at another school for a job at Ohio State, joining Alex Grinch, who was previously Washington State's defensive coordinator and secondary coach before coming to Ohio State in January. Grinch's title has yet to be announced, so it remains to be seen how exactly his role will be balanced with defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and now Johnson, but it is likely that all three will work in some collaboration in coaching defensive backs. Tuesday's announcement states that "additional responsibilities for Johnson may be announced at a later date."
One thing that is for sure, though, is Johnson has big shoes to fill in replacing Coombs' energy and ability to develop cornerbacks.
Johnson, 45, and his wife, Sharday, have two children: a son, Tyree, and a daughter, Brooklynn.