football Edit

Ohio star talks state championship, loves the Buckeyes

CANTON, Ohio -- Cincinnati (Ohio) La Salle star Jaylen Johnson was offered a scholarship by Ohio State over the summer after an impressive camp performance. Now Johnson and his teammates are state champions after defeating Massillon 34-17 on Thursday night.

Johnson has had a lot of memorable moments already during his high school career, but this one topped the list.

"It's the best feeling you'll ever feel as a high school player," said Johnson after the game. "Our team has been working our butts off since this time last year. Last year we didn't reach our goal and we came back working harder and better. We had one of the toughest schedules and people said we were going to have a losing record. They said we weren't going to make it through the GCL."

Johnson and the La Salle defense held the high-powered Massillon offense scoreless in the second half on Thursday night. The safety/linebacker hybrid locked down his role on Thursday, which was mainly covering the slot.

"I got in everyone's head (at halftime) and I just told them to just trust in each other," he said. "That's what we did. We trusted in each other and got the corrections made and shut them out (in the second half)."

Johnson made a couple of visits to Ohio State this fall for games and says his relationship with the Buckeyes to continues to grow into one of the strongest he has built during the recruiting process.

"Real good relationship, I love all of those guys," Johnson explained. "I talk to coach (Jeff) Hafley, coach (Al) Washington and coach (Tim) Hinton."

Ohio State views Johnson as a hybrid prospect who could play safety, outside linebacker or the hybrid bullet position.

"They are always real," he said of the Ohio State staff. "They keep it one-hundred with me and they never sugarcoat anything. I love them, they treat me like I'm their own son."

Right now Johnson is remaining pretty open with his recruiting process. In addition to Ohio State, Johnson did point toward a few other coaching staffs that he speaks with the most, however.

"I've been talking to UC regularly, I talk to UK almost every day," he said. "I've been talking to USC a lot lately. Safety, linebacker, they kind of want me everywhere. Everything (with recruiting) is going really well."

Johnson will get more serious about recruiting in the spring, but he has already laid out a commitment plan.

"I'm committing on July 29th," he explained. "I'm dropping my Top 10 on May 22nd, that's my Father's birthday. Then I'm committing on my girlfriend's birthday."

Johnson is currently rated the No. 11 overall prospect in Ohio's 2021 class.