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Sunday, May 12, 2013
Lonnie Johnson becomes pledge No. 8

By Brad Bournival

Sometimes an athlete just knows what he wants.

While it took Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side) a few more months than anticipated, the two-way threat picked Ohio State on Sunday.

When an offer came in December from the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver said he wanted to make his announcement just days later, but instead held off to let his teammates from the Class of 2013 take center stage.

Five months removed from the Ohio State offer, Johnson made it official with a commitment to the Buckeyes, becoming the eighth member of the Buckeyes’ 2014 class.

In choosing Ohio State, Johnson turned down offers from Bowling Green, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Purdue and interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.

In the end, it really came down to a choice between Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Purdue and the Buckeyes.

But a heart-to-heart with his mother on Saturday night turned things scarlet and grey, as Johnson joined Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech), Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati/Moeller), Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville), Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) as 2014 commitment to the Buckeyes.

“It was just the fact they built a relationship with my mother and father,” Johnson said. “That was a plus. They showed me a lot of support, so that made them the top school in my eyes.

“They pass the ball a lot. I saw that when I went to the spring game. It was just putting the pieces together for the puzzle.”

His sub 4.5 40-yard dash speed makes him an instant threat in Ohio State’s spread offense.

He’ll be used as a wide receiver for the Buckeyes, as his 31 receptions for 777 yards broke down to 25.1 yards per catch. Throw in the 13 touchdowns he had as a junior, and his nose for the end zone is unquestioned.

As a defensive back, Johnson made 29 tackles, recorded eight pass breakups and logged six interceptions.

“I’ll fit well in that offense,” Johnson said. “I’ll bring something new to the offense. With my speed and the fact I’m versatile, I’ll be able to go with the best of them. I can go after the tough ball. I know I can put points on the board. That’s what I’ll continue to do.”

The four-star wide receiver is ranked No. 41 in the nation at his position and is the fifth-best junior from the state of Indiana.