Signed: Tyreke Johnson Comes to Ohio State With Already Having Firmly Established Relationships

By James Grega on December 20, 2017 at 7:54 am

The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.

Tyreke Johnson held an offer from Ohio State before the Buckeyes won their first national title under Urban Meyer. After more than three years of pursuing him, the Buckeyes finally got a commitment from Johnson on Dec. 5. 

The commitment gave Ohio State its 19th verbal and it was a former high school teammate and current Buckeye that played a factor in getting Johnson to Columbus.

Shaun Wade, a former defensive backfield mate of Johnson's played an integral role in helping get his fellow Florida native north to Ohio State. 

“They’re already brothers. They have a great relationship from high school, and Shaun’s given him the buck naked truth on what’s going on,” Johnson’s father, Earl, told Eleven Warriors' Andrew Lind. “It’s a great place, and he wouldn’t mind having him there as a brother. I think he gets a good vibe from Shaun about the school as a whole.

“I think the biggest factor is the quality of the education he can receive there, and lets face it, these kids are student-athletes,” he continued. “The athletic program can better him, make him into a better player and better person. They really want you to see a future for yourself there.”

The Johnson File

  • Class: 2018
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 191 pounds
  • Pos: S
  • School:  Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: 5 (S)

Not only can Wade tell Johnson about the program itself, he can help him learn what to expect once he arrives on campus, down to the most minor detail. 

Trinity Christian head coach Verlon Dorminey told Lind that Johnson can learn exactly what to expect from Wade because of their nearly identical path to Columbus. 

“It will be great for Tyreke. Who wouldn’t like to go somewhere where you’ve already got a good friend there,” Dorminey said. “They’ve gone through the same hoops that you have to jump through, and they’re coming in at the same time [as early enrollees]. And he’s not just on the team, but they’re going to be playing the same position.”

In terms of his game, Johnson fits the mold of a future corner for Ohio State, despite being listed by multiple recruiting services as a safety. 

His play, even in 7-on-7 competitions without pads, shows that Johnson isn't afraid to get physical with opposing receivers. 

Not many believed that Johnson would leave the state of Florida for his college football, but once again, relationships won out over proximity to home. Not only is his relationship with Wade a key factor in coming to Ohio State, but also his relationship with Kerry Coombs, who will likely end up being Johnson's position coach in Columbus

“I know he really likes coach Coombs,” Dorminey said. “Coach Coombs really does a great job with his defensive backs, and you can tell he really cares about his kids.”

Even though he is so far away, Johnson's father Earl said his son will feel the support for him all the way from Florida, as the family is planning on making multiple trips north to see the Buckeyes play. 

“Tyreke is a very mature young man and, yeah, I worry about him being far from home,” the elder Johnson said. “But he understands the choice he makes will probably affect the next 40 years of his life. Tyreke looks at it as a business decision. He knows he has our support. He knows we’ll be there on the drop of a dime if we have to be. We’ll try to make as many trips as we can. He might have some hidden fears, of course, but Shaun being there and knowing he has a big support system was a big factor.”

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