Ohio State Wide Receiver/Running Back Xavier Johnson Indicates Return for Sixth Year with Buckeyes

By Dan Hope on January 9, 2023 at 6:15 pm
Xavier Johnson
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network

Xavier Johnson appears to be returning to Ohio State for another year.

The versatile Buckeye seemingly indicated his return in an Instagram post Monday in which he tagged Cade Stover, who announced earlier Monday that he is staying at Ohio State for another year. Ohio State general manager Mark Pantoni also celebrated the news of Johnson’s return on Twitter.


A post shared by Xavier Johnson (@xavi.j1)

A former walk-on, Johnson was a valuable player on both offense and special teams this past season, playing 207 snaps on offense and a team-high 255 snaps on special teams. Johnson saw snaps at both wide receiver and running back and gained 297 yards and three touchdowns on just 25 total offensive touches. He also served as the Buckeyes’ lead kickoff returner, gaining 269 yards on 12 returns, while also playing on Ohio State’s kickoff coverage, punt and punt block units, where he recovered a pair of blocked punts this year.

During Ohio State’s media day prior to the Peach Bowl, Johnson said returning to Ohio State for his sixth and final year of eligibility was “definitely a consideration” and that he had talked at length about the possibility with Ryan Day and Brian Hartline. They told Johnson they think he could make an even bigger impact in 2023 than he did in 2022, though they haven’t made him any guarantees about playing time.

“I think that their pitch is basically there's some more development to be had. And I would agree,” Johnson said. “I think it's always a good thing when I feel like I'm still getting better year by year. And so there's not like a plateau or I haven't felt like I've reached my ceiling. Sometimes that can be because of a place or sometimes it can be just because of your ability. And I feel like each year I've gotten better cognitively, I've gotten better with actual physical skills. And so their pitch is just that there's still more meat on the bone, if you will. And they think that they can really help me achieve and I would say get the most out of this college career.”

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