Ohio State football recruiting can be a wild ride full of twists and turns as recruits from all over the country maneuver their way to signing day. Lettermen Row is here to help navigate the tumultuous roads by getting to the heart of the matter with the young football players and Ohio State coaches and staff members themselves. The latest episode features Will Johnson, a 5-star cornerback and a Michigan Wolverines legacy in the Class of 2022.
The world of college football is much different than it was 20 years ago and that’s one of the reasons why Ohio State is so comfortable heading north into Michigan to recruit that state’s best players.
The Buckeyes brand is one of the biggest in the nation and it’s only getting bigger as Ryan Day’s program continues to separate itself from the rest of the Big Ten, cementing itself as one of the truly elite programs across college football, no matter where you live.
Still, 20 years ago, kids from Michigan — especially a Wolverines legacy like 5-star 2022 prospect Will Johnson — would almost certainly not be worth the effort for the Buckeyes. That’s definitely not the case anymore and in the last handful of years, especially since the arrival of Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, the legacy of being a Buckeyes defensive back has drawn more attention for some kids than has the idea of following in parental footsteps. The reasons for that are varied but without question the ability of Coombs and others to produce NFL-caliber cornerbacks and safeties is at the top of the list.
“It’s big,” Johnson told Lettermen Row when he was offered by the Buckeyes. “Ohio State is known for putting defensive backs in the NFL and that’s where I want to be one day.”
The questions around the Michigan program have opened up a door for Ohio State, LSU, USC and others in the recruitment of Will Johnson and the Buckeyes are working hard to encourage him to make the short trip to Columbus in the near future and for his foreseeable future and Johnson is definitely listening, thanks in major part to the recruiting being done by the Ohio State 2022 recruiting class, namely C.J. Hicks, Dasan McCullough and Bennett Christian.
“It’s just all knowing we could do something special if we stuck together,” Johnson has said of their impact. “They’re definitely some great recruiters.”
What else does Will Johnson have to say about Ohio State? How much pressure does he feel to stay home and following his father’s footsteps by playing for the home-state Wolverines? Will he and fellow 5-star cornerback Domani Jackson continue to plan on playing together at the next level?
Find out the answers to those questions and more in the latest episode of Birminology from Lettermen Row.