With the inaugural early signing day approaching next week, rumors are floating on social media.

All’s fair in love and recruiting, so it is said.

One tidbit apparently making the rounds was that Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, 65, was on the verge of retiring. Johnson is a masterful recruiter, and his loss would be a blow to Ohio State.

On Friday, Johnson quickly denied the rumor on Twitter.

“Apparently there is misinformation about my future. I want to make a bold statement that I am not going anywhere and I’m proud to be Buckeye,” Johnson wrote, adding the hashtags #Buckeyes and #RushmenForLife.

Johnson’s unit is one of the deepest and most talented in the country. But with several seniors leaving and junior Sam Hubbard expected to join them in the NFL draft, the Buckeyes need reinforcements.

Ohio State lost a five-star defensive end when Brenton Cox decommitted recently.

“That was pretty big,” defensive end Nick Bosa said. “I know coach J was pretty surprised about that. I just worry about how Coach J is doing because he puts so much into it. When somebody does that, it kind of hurts him because he feels he makes a bond with people.”

That disappointment was balanced by a somewhat surprise commitment this week to Ohio State by lineman Tommy Togiai of Pocatello, Idaho. A video of Johnson and head coach Urban Meyer erupting in joy when Togiai made his decision went viral.

Bosa said he was puzzled by the Johnson rumor.

“It’s weird,” he said. “I don’t know who started that. I’m glad it’s not true for at least one more year.”

Bosa explained the bond Johnson has with his players.

“It’s more than football,” Bosa said. “I know everybody says that, but with him it’s really true. He loves you and he’s a father figure to all of us.

“A lot of us are away from home. Knowing we can go to him with absolutely anything — whether it’s somehow we got in trouble or school is tough or whatever — and he’ll be there and he loves us for who we are.”

Senior Bowl invites

Defensive ends Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis have accepted invitations to the Senior Bowl.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” Holmes said. “It’s another chance to showcase my talents to NFL scouts. I’m blessed to be in that situation. When I got the invite, I accepted it the same day.”

A Senior Bowl official said that center Billy Price also was invited but has not said whether he will accept.



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