Ohio State’s defensive back pipeline isn’t ending anytime soon. It’s hard to argue that any position group has been as consistently excellent under Urban Meyer as the defensive backs, as evidenced by seven draft picks from the group since Meyer’s arrival, including five first rounders. Another first rounder is likely on the way this season as well, with Denzel Ward expected to declare for the draft.
Aside from great coaching, be it from Chris Ash, Greg Schiano, or Kerry Coombs, the main cause of that DB dominance is excellent recruiting, and the 2018 class is no different. After landing six top 200 defensive backs in 2017, Ohio State added five more in 2018, and one of the best of the group is Tyreke Johnson (Jacksonville, FL)
Johnson committed just a few weeks ago, on December 5th, shortly after an official viait to Columbus. He was the 21st commit to join the class.
247 Sports has Johnson ranked as the nation’s 38th best prospect, the seventh from the sunshine state, and the fifth best safety in the 2018 class.
In terms of first year impact, the safety position opposite of Jordan Fuller is pretty much open next season, with Damon Webb and Erick Smith both set to graduate following the season. However, with Isaiah Pryor, Kendall Sheffield, Jaiden Woodbey, Josh Proctor, and Wayne Davis all set to battle for the spot next year as well, it would be surprising to see Johnson anywhere but special teams as a freshman.
The Buckeyes’ never-ending thirst for long defensive backs continues with Johnson’s commitment. Standing 6’1, 190-pounds, Johnson possesses ideal size, athleticism, and ball skills that he routinely demonstrated on both sides of the ball at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.
Johnson’s willingness to come up and tackle in the run game, combined with enough speed and aggressiveness to lock down his side of the field, makes him an ideal outside corner in Greg Schiano’s press-man scheme. Ohio State doesn’t recruit corners who can’t play man coverage, and Johnson stands out in his ability to also get his head around to ultimately make plays on the ball downfield.
A crowded defensive backs room full of four- and five-star corners could delay Johnson’s arrival on the defensive side of the ball, but his physical mentality and straight-line speed makes him an early candidate to join the piranhas on the kickoff unit.