Johnson's brute style a boon to OSU

It took Ohio State a little more than a month to flip the switch.

Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) headed into The Horseshoe to watch the Buckeyes’ 26-21 win over Michigan on an official visit Nov. 24.

He announced his commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday and plugged a hole the Buckeyes have been trying to fill for more than seven months.

Surprisingly, the ESPN 150 linebacker becomes the first in the class of 2013, after Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal withdrew their verbal commitments to the Buckeyes.

When it’s all done, the senior -- ranked the nation’s No. 96 player overall and the No. 2 inside linebacker -- Johnson could be the best of the bunch.

Auburn saw it in Johnson when the Tigers wrapped him up Aug. 15. But a coaching change put him back on the market, and it played to the Buckeyes’ advantage.

Johnson’s aggressive approach will be a welcome change to an Ohio State linebacker corps that was missing something last season.

Where the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Johnson excels the most is in his ability to read and react. It led to a junior season in which he had an incredible 164 tackles -- 24 1/2 for loss -- and six sacks.

Though opponents keyed on him as a senior, he recorded 140 tackles, three sacks and an interception.

With Urban Meyer bringing in a strong defensive front built to make holes for the linebackers to run through, and with Ryan Shazier helping him along next year, Johnson could be a once-in-a-decade type of player who quickly makes a name for himself.