Ohio State great lands gig as DC with IMG Academy
A former Ohio State star has landed a new job with one of the most prestigious high school football programs in America.
On Monday, IMG Academy head coach Bobby Acosta announced that Pepper Johnson will be joining the staff in Bradenton, Florida as the defensive coordinator. He comes to the program after spending the spring with the Los Angeles Wildcats (XFL) as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.
Johnson’s coaching experience has been in the professional ranks. He joined the New England Patriots in 2000 as the assistant linebackers coach. He was then promoted to inside linebackers coach, a position he held from 2001-03 and then shifted to defensive line from 2004-11. Johnson spent his final two seasons (2012-13) in New England as the linebackers coach.
Johnson also coached the defensive line with with Buffalo Bills (2014) and New York Jets (2015-16).
“We are so excited to have Pepper Johnson join the Brotherhood as our New Defensive Coordinator,” Acosta wrote on Twitter.
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Johnson played at Ohio State from 1982-85 under head coach Earle Bruce. In his four seasons with the Buckeyes, the linebacker totaled 379 tackles, 12 stops for loss and five sacks. In 1985, he was an All-American selection.
Following his time at Ohio State, Johnson went on to have a 13-year career in the NFL. Johnson was a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the New York Giants and was a Pro Bowl selection in 1990 (Giants) and 1994 (Cleveland Browns). He also played with the Detroit Lions and New York Jets.
Johnson ended his NFL career with 983 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 14 interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.