COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Most wide receivers coming out of high school look at who is going to be throwing them the ball and use it as part of the decision-making process.
Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side) isn’t one of them.
He sees how good Ohio State’s wide receivers are going to be in the upcoming years and can’t help but think scarlet and grey all the time.
The Buckeyes landed the No. 1 WR class in the nation in 2013 with Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) and Corey Smith (Akron, Ohio/East Mississippi Community College), respectively. Throw in four-star wideout James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach) and the future looks very good.
With Johnson in the 2014 class and rumblings of Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary’s) possibly moving to slot receiver, it’s easy to see why Johnson is excited.
“This wide receiver corps can be awesome,” Johnson said. “With the group of guys we have now, it’s just building. We’re out here recruiting the other guys. We’re trying to build a dynasty.”
That’s where he thinks the wide receivers will really make their name, and he sees it happening everywhere, not just the offense.
Ohio State also had the top-ranked secondary in the 2013 class with ESPN 300 defensive backs Eli Apple (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern), Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington), Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland), Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) and Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic).
“We’re going to be pushing each other extremely hard,” Johnson said. “That’s just how it is. If you want to win, you’ll push your teammates.
“On my visit here, I was talking to the coaches. They were telling me how Bradley Roby and Devin Smith go at it. Roby will tell Smith what he’s doing wrong and Smith tells him what he needs to fix, that’s just how it is. If the corner is turning his hips too early, I’ll tell him at the two-a-days, that way when it’s game time, he’s not doing it against another wide receiver.”
Johnson has another year with the Cougars and is expecting bigger things as he rests a bruised leg this summer.
Last season, he caught 31 passes for 777 yards -- 25.1 yards per catch -- and scored 13 touchdowns.
Campbell will be used even more in the passing game this year for the Fighting Irish as he tries to defend St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Division III state title.
With bubble screens and quick passes in the Irish’s arsenal, Campbell should hone his skills as a slot receiver even more.
With all that said, Johnson has made a bold prediction as what to expect from the Buckeyes in the coming years.
“It’ll be two to three national championships,” he said. “Solid.”