Signed: Five-Star Cincinnati Offensive Tackle Paris Johnson Jr. Brings An Elite Athlete To the Offensive Line Room

By David Wertheim on December 18, 2019 at 7:17 am
Paris Johnson Jr.

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.

Ohio State received a large commitment back in June of 2018 when Paris Johnson Jr. elected to choose the Buckeyes while on an unofficial visit in Columbus.

The Johnson File

  • Class: 2020
  • Size: 6-foot-7, 290 pounds
  • Pos: OT
  • School: Princeton (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★★
  • Composite Rank: 1 (OT)

The Buckeyes do not usually offer in-state prospects when they are young, but did so with Johnson, extending him a scholarship offer way back on Dec. 8, 2017, while Johnson was also on an unofficial visit.

They wanted to get him locked down early, and they did.

An in-state kid, hailing originally from St. Xavier high school in Cincinnati before transferring from the GCL powerhouse to GMC mainstay Princeton for his senior year, Johnson seemed destined to join the Buckeyes. But it wasn't always easy.

After committing to the Buckeyes, things were going well on the Johnson front before Urban Meyer's retirement forced the talented offensive lineman to re-think his decision. In doing so, he took unofficial visit trips to Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, and LSU, before heading back to Athens and Baton Rouge for official visits.

After those few turbulent months, though, Johnson headed back to Columbus for an official visit on June 21, 2019 and it seemed to have a big impact on him, as he decided to basically shut things down from there.  

Rated as the country's No. 1 offensive tackle, Johnson should ultimately put on the necessary weight to man either left or right tackle. It will be interesting to see who returns for Ohio State, as Thayer Munford, Josh Myers, and Wyatt Davis are all draft-eligible along with the have-to-depart Branden Bowen, Joshua Alabi, and Jonah Jackson. Either way, Ohio State's offensive line will look significantly different next year, and it remains to be seen whether Johnson will be ready to be a part of it. 

Johnson joins several other Buckeyes in coming up from the Queen City on I-71 North: his current teammate at Princeton Darrion Henry, the Elder High School duo of Jakob James and Joe Royer, LaSalle kicker Jake Siebert, and Winton Woods running back Miyan Williams. There will be a heavy Cincinnati flair in the Ohio State 2020 class, something that Ryan Day set out to do when he first embarked on his journey as head coach of Ohio State.

Greg Studrawa has done a nice job with his offensive line unit, meshing highly-touted recruits such as Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis alongside less-heralded guys such as Branden Bowen. Throw in grad transfer Jonah Jackson and it is clear that Studrawa can work with just about anything. A five-star tackle shouldn't be too hard to manage. 

Johnson will add another toy for Studrawa, but it is hard to see him utilizing it early. Even with the roster turnover as mentioned above, it is still incredibly rare for a true freshman offensive lineman to start at Ohio State. The last two who opened the season as starters: Michael Jordan and Orlando Pace.  

Nonetheless, when it is all over, there's a chance we could see a tree in Buckeye Grove. 

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