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Report: Ohio State makes two big hires

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State locked in two new assistant coaches Tuesday morning, according to a report from Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated and SI.com.

Sources told the outlet that Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes successfully poached Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash and finalized a deal with longtime Penn State assistant Larry Johnson. Ash will become Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach while Johnson will oversee the defensive line.

Ash spent three years at Wisconsin under former Badgers coach Bret Bielema and served as his defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012. When Bielema left to take over Arkansas in Dec. 2012, Ash followed and worked in the same capacity.

Johnson, who coached at Penn State for 19 years and guided its defensive line for 15 years, turned down an offer to stay with the Nittany Lions under new head coach James Franklin Monday. Franklin was hired Saturday.

The hires, which fill voids left by former assistants Everett Withers and Mike Vrabel, could not be confirmed by an Ohio State spokesman.

Withers, formerly the team's co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, left to take over James Madison University on Dec. 21. Vrabel, who previously coached the defensive line, left the Buckeyes to serve as the linebackers coach for the NFL's Houston Texans Thursday.

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