Top recruit Austin Johnson says he's still headed to Penn State

Posted: November 19, 2011

Austin Johnson says he's still committed to playing football at Penn State.

For now.

Johnson, a two-way tackle for St. Augustine Prep in Richland, Atlantic County, said Friday he's "waiting to see" what happens as far as the makeup of the coaching staff at Penn State.

"Right now, I'm still committed," Johnson said. "But I want to see who the new head coach is going to be and what's going to happen with some of the assistants."

Johnson said he committed to Penn State in June for three reasons: the quality of the school; the presence of legendary head coach Joe Paterno; and his connection with defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who is no relation.

Paterno was fired in the wake of the recent scandal at Penn State. Johnson said his greatest concern at this point is the status of Larry Johnson.

"That's a big part of it for me," Austin Johnson said.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Johnson is projected as a defensive lineman at Penn State, although he also could develop into an offensive lineman. He also had offers from Iowa, Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College, Villanova, and Tulane when he committed to Penn State.

Johnson was part of a conference call involving many Penn State recruits soon after the scandal erupted two weeks ago.

"They told us they were going to honor all the commitments, no matter who the new coach is," Johnson said. "That was good to hear. I'm just waiting to see what happens.

"I still like Penn State. It's a great school. But I have to see what's happening with the coaching staff."

Johnson has one football game remaining for St. Augustine Prep, Wednesday night at Buena.

He also is a member of the St. Augustine Prep basketball team.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223,, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at

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