Report: Ohio State close to hiring former PSU coach Larry Johnson

Penn State Nittany Lions defensive line coach Larry Johnson during the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 43-40 in overtime.

Matthew OHaren/Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, the Buckeyes are close to landing longtime Penn State assistant coach, Larry Johnson, as the newest coach on their defensive staff.

Johnson coached for 19 years at Penn State, and has not only proven his ability to coach top talent, but also is known as an outstanding recruiter.

Bringing in a coach like Johnson to replace Mike Vrabel would definitely be a huge get for Ohio State, as Johnson has coached seven first-team All-Americans during his tenure at Penn State. Johnson’s former player Courtney Brown was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, and another of Johnson’s former players, Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs, was 15th in sacks in the NFL this season.

Vrabel, who coached defensive line for the Buckeyes, left Ohio State to join Bill O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans after O’Brien also left Penn State.

Penn State’s new head coach, James Franklin, approached Johnson about staying on the staff at Penn State, but according to Johnson was ready to leave.

"But I’ve thought a lot about this, I’ve prayed about it and this is what I want to do. I wish Coach Franklin and Penn State the best but it’s time for me. It’s a very difficult time but I want to thank the fans, the players, and Penn State. I mean that."-Larry Johnson via

Neither Ohio State nor Larry Johnson has confirmed the reports.