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How Dijon Johnson's Commitment Impacts Ohio State’s 2023 Recruiting Class

An in-depth look at what Johnson will bring to the Buckeyes both on and off the field.

Ohio State secured a commitment this afternoon from one of the nation’s most underrated defensive backs when Tampa (Fla.) Wharton four-star cornerback Dijon Johnson pledged his services to the Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-1 and 190-pound Johnson earned second-team all-state honors as a junior after he intercepted six passes and returned four of them for touchdowns while leading the Wildcats to the Class 7A Region 3 finals last fall.

Johnson is a big, physical cornerback but also has the requisite speed and change of direction needed to play the position. He’s very instinctual, but will have to work on his man-to-man technique after relying on his size and acceleration to blanket less-skilled wide receivers in high school.

Johnson has excelled on the 7-on-7 circuit this spring with Team Tampa, which also features new wide receiver commit Bryson Rodgers and four-star linebacker target Troy Bowles. That’s where my colleague, Inside The Knights' Brian Smith, caught a glimpse of the future Buckeyes.

“Johnson saw the least action because he does his job as a cornerback,” Smith said. “Why throw at the really long and athletic cornerback, right? Exactly.

“A player that does well in off coverage and breaks on the ball, Johnson is the definition of what college coaches seek in today’s game. His length and natural aggressiveness will allow a lucky college program to have a defensive back that can make plays in the secondary. He’s versatile enough to play nickel cornerback or free safety in addition to cornerback.”

As for how Johnson fits into the class, new Ohio State cornerbacks coach Tim Walton is looking to take at least two players at the position this cycle. The Buckeyes have been linked to a number of names, but seem to be trending most with Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove four-star Kayin Lee, a former Georgia commit who was on campus earlier this month.

There’s also Phenix City (Ala.) Central five-star A.J. Harris and Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson five-star Cormani McClain, though Walton has had some ground to make up with Harris given his relationship with former defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.

McClain, meanwhile, was supposed to make his way to Columbus for Student Appreciation Day, but his flight was cancelled just hours beforehand. They’re both eyeing official visits for the summer, which will ultimately dictate their respective recruitments.

That said, Johnson’s pledge could also help the Buckeyes in their pursuit of his teammate, 2024 four-star defensive end Booker Pickett Jr., who is the nephew of former Ohio State defensive tackle and 2001 first-round pick Ryan Pickett. He picked up an offer from defensive line coach Larry Johnson on Friday.

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