Austin Johnson, OL/DL, St. Augustine H.S. (N.J.)
Like Derek Dowrey, Austin Johnson received a scholarship offer after attending camp at Penn State last June. Also, like Dowrey, Johnson's existing offer list was very sparse when it came to BCS scholarship offers (Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College, Villanova and Tulane). Who is this 6'5", 280-pound mystery man?
Well, he ended up being Scout.com's #24 ranked offensive guard prospect. Rivals had him as the #29 overall recruit in the state of New Jersey, and notes that he was the starting center for a state championship basketball team. So that's rather impressive. According to this Philly.com article, Johnson is likely ending up on the defensive line. As with most versatile, athletic big guys, who knows.
How did the scandal affect Austin Johnson? He was obviously on the verge of looking elsewhere for his college career, but...
Johnson long maintained that he would keep an open mind on things and he kept mentioning his close relationship with Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson (no relation).
Larry Johnson, whose son starred at Penn State and then for the Kansas City Chiefs as a running back, is known as one of college football’s top recruiters as well as being an accomplished defensive coach.
Austin Johnson maintained that he would like to attend Penn State, but was seeing what would be done about the coaching staff.
One of the first moves new Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien did was retain Larry Johnson as one of his assistants. That apparently was a popular move with a number of recruits, certainly with Austin Johnson.
Bill O'Brien retaining Larry Johnson: great move, or the greatest move?