The Dijon Johnson Impact

The Buckeyes had quite an Easter Sunday on the recruiting trail as Tampa (Fla.) Wharton defensive back Dijon Johnson made it a two-for-one in the Sunshine State, joining four-star wide receiver Bryson Rodgers in committing to Ohio State on Sunday afternoon.

What Ohio State is getting

Johnson has some of the more impressive junior film that I’ve watched from the corners in the 2023 cycle. It has a little bit of everything, but the first thing that jumps out is how instinctual Johnson is. You see him making perfectly timed breaks on the football and you see him reading the quarterback and peeling off his man to make interceptions that a lot of players wouldn’t be able to put themselves in a position to make.

He does all of that in a 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame which makes him an ideally sized prospect at cornerback. Johnson’s versatility also comes through on film. He does a great job in press man coverage and certainly has the size and physicality to thrive there, but he also makes a lot of plays playing off or in zone looks. Just a ton of smarts and instincts on his film.

While there’s no reason to think Johnson won’t be a corner at Ohio State, there is so much here that would translate to safety as well. Reminds me a lot of former Ohio State star Malcolm Jenkins who played corner in Columbus before becoming a great safety in the NFL.

Much like Bryson Rodgers earlier today, Johnson was a player that the Ohio State staff identified pretty early, certainly before the recruiting rankings started to improve. Johnson, again like Rodgers, would only be a take today if he was a top priority for the Ohio State staff. The Buckeyes are in a position right now where they don’t need to reach so these early commitments speak pretty loudly as to how the coaching staff values the player.

What it means for recruiting

The Buckeyes have already landed a pair of safety prospects in this class, but Johnson is the first cornerback target to join the fold. This will be another big haul of defensive backs as the Buckeyes are a bit thin in the secondary, especially at safety, but there is also a need at corner to be filled this cycle.

The Buckeyes are going big game hunting with five-star prospects A.J. Harris and Cormani McClain as well as high four-star prospects like Christian Gray and Sharif Denson. With a quality prospect like Johnson now committed, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to change this approach. This is a corners class that likely won’t number more than three and Ohio State has plenty of time to keep working its top targets to fill the remaining 1-2 spots.

The upcoming Spring Evaluation Period could very well reveal a few new targets for the Ohio State defensive staff, and June camps are always important, but right now the Buckeyes are in position to just keep attacking their top targets with only one or two spots remaining.

Ohio State has also maintained an active presence in Florida but the commitments of Johnson and Rodgers today are further evidence that this could be an unprecedented haul for the Buckeyes in the Sunshine State.