PASADENA, Calif. – Since Urban Meyer hired him in 2014, Ohio State assistant coach Larry Johnson has developed countless defensive linemen into dominant college players and high-level NFL draft picks.
He doesn’t anticipate coaching anywhere other than Ohio State next season when Ryan Day takes over as head coach.
“I want to be, I'm going to be an Ohio State Buckeye coach,” Johnson said on Sunday. “I know that. I think that's my future. But you know, in college football, thing changes no matter what happens. I have no plans to go anywhere. This is what I want to do. This is where I want to do it at. I'll leave it at that until after Tuesday and we play the Rose Bowl.”
In early October, prior to Meyer announcing his retirement, Johnson refuted rumors of his retirement. Speaking in an interview with BTN’s The Journey, the 66-year-old assistant coach said, “I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m in great health, I absolutely enjoy what I do, and I have great passion for the game,” he said at the time.
Under Johnson, Ohio State’s defensive line has thrived.
Nick Bosa is expected to be a top-three selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Dre’Mont Jones could get taken in the first round. Johnson has coached Joey Bosa, Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Adolphus Washington, Jalyn Holmes and Tracy Sprinkle. He has played a key role in loading up on high-level recruits, such as five-star Taron Vincent, five-star Zach Harrison, four-star Tommy Togiai and four-star Tyreke Smith.
“I would go where Larry Johnson was,” defensive end signee Noah Potter said on Dec. 19 after signing his National Letter of Intent. “I'll just keep it as simple as that.”
Next season’s defensive line will feature likely eventual first-round pick Chase Young, along with three other returning starters.
Jonathan Cooper will return for his senior season across the formation from Young. Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton will be back for their fifth seasons to rotate at nose tackle. Haskell Garrett and Vincent are the top candidates to replace Jones, who will leave for the NFL.
“He's a great coach,” Garrett said Sunday. “He's like a father to all of us.”
Day has never been a head coach, but has worked alongside Johnson the past two seasons and has seen the results first-hand.
“He’s a legend,” Day said on Dec. 19. “He has a legacy here, and what he’s done with the defensive line, obviously, again, that’s testimony. And so there’s defensive linemen all over the country that want to come to get coached by Larry Johnson, and you can see that again in this class and the relationships that he built are really, really important, but again, the way he develops the young men on the field and off the field is what’s key.”