For a sustained stretch of time, no one recruited better than Larry Johnson did for the Ohio State football program. He was grabbing elite defensive linemen left and right. The amount of talented he accumulated for the Buckeyes was just astounding.
The Bosa brothers, Chase Young, J.T. Tuimoloau, and Jack Sawyer are just some of the five-star defensive ends he brought in. Both Bosas were unreal while playing for the Buckeyes. Young is still the best Ohio State football player I've ever seen. While JTT underwhelmed with his numbers, he still could be a first-round pick in the Spring.
The past three cycles have not been kind to Johnson. He hasn't signed a five-star recruit in any of them, which is the standard he's set. In fact, he lost a five-star kid to Miami. In the 2024 cycle, the Buckeyes have just two defensive linemen coming in.
Ohio State fans are starting to worry if he's lost his touch. The Buckeyes will be very thin at defensive end next year if this holds. While Eddrick Houston is very good coming in next season, Johnson used to get three or four players of his caliber a cycle. Now he's getting just one.
Is this something to panic about? I wouldn't quite go that far. Johnson still has developed some of the best defensive linemen in the country so he's got the cache to get kids from all over. This is definitely concerning though, especially for a man of his age. He's close to retirement age.
Perhaps that's why he can't quite land the elite-caliber players he once did. Maybe teams are negatively recruiting around his age, saying that he won't be with the Buckeyes for much longer. Who knows what the answer is? What I do know is that this will eventually catch up with the Buckeyes if they don't fix the problem soon.