Posted: Mon January 13, 2014 11:35PM; Updated: Tue January 14, 2014 8:13AM
Pete Thamel

Ohio State close to landing former Penn State assistant Larry Johnson

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Larry Johnson (center) spent 19 years at Penn State and coached seven first-team All-Americas.
Larry Johnson (center) spent 19 years at Penn State and coached seven first-team All-Americas.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio State is on the cusp of poaching one of Penn State's key assistant coaches, as the Buckeyes are close to finalizing a contract with longtime Nittany Lions' defensive line coach Larry Johnson, a source confirmed to on Monday.

For 19 seasons at Penn State, Johnson established himself as one of the country's most prolific East Coast recruiters and a top-notch defensive line coach. Johnson has been a linchpin of the Penn State staff for two decades, spending the last 15 seasons as the Nittany Lions' defensive line coach.

Johnson is considered an elite teacher of defensive linemen, as he developed seven first-team All-Americas at Penn State, including Jared Odrick, Tamba Hali and Courtney Brown, the No. 1 pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

The move will carry significant implications on the recruiting trail, as Johnson was long considered Penn State's most important recruiter. His presence on the Ohio State staff will increase the Buckeyes' recruiting arm in both Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., where Johnson was a longtime high school coach.

Johnson will replace Mike Vrabel at Ohio State. Vrabel left Urban Meyer's staff to take a job as linebackers coach with the Houston Texans and new coach Bill O'Brien. The move will reunite Johnson with two players that he recruited heavily to Penn State, defensive linemen Tommy Schutt and Noah Spence.

Johnson is the father of former Penn State and NFL tailback Larry Johnson. His son Tony also played receiver at Penn State.

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