College football recruiting gets nasty, and negative rumors may be what spurred on rumors of Ohio State's Larry Johnson's retirement.
Larry Johnson, the Buckeye's defensive line coach, is one of the nation's finest recruiters, and has been a big factor in the Big Ten since joining Penn State's staff in 1996.
After Bill O'Brien's departure to the NFL, Johnson left PSU for Ohio State, where he has continued to haul in blue-chip defensive linemen for head coach Urban Meyer. And he plans to continue to do so, for the foreseeable future at least. This afternoon, Johnson took to Twitter to shoot down rumors that he is set to retire.
Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch posits that the rumors may have started on the recruiting trail:
The rumor likely was a product of the recruiting trail where OSU currently has the No. 1-ranked 2018 class in the country, based on prospects who have issued commitments.
He cites the recent decommitment of five-star defensive lineman Brenton Cox as possible evidence that other programs are floating Johnson's retirement as a possibility.
There was some conjecture in recruiting circles whether the recent de-commitment of five-star defensive end Brenton Cox of Stockbridge, Georgia, from the OSU class was a product of the Johnson retirement rumor, though Cox hasn’t said that.
Georgia and Alabama are the main programs involved with Cox, after his decommitment from Ohio State. He officially visited the Crimson Tide earlier this month.
As May notes, Ohio State still has the No. 1 class, and looks poised to unseat Alabama, which is riding an incredible streak of hauling in the top class in the country.