The Ohio State Buckeyes received rare negative recruiting news Monday night, when wide receiver Lonnie Johnson revealed on Twitter that he backed off his verbal commitment to the program. Head coach Urban Meyer has built one of the nation's top 2014 recruiting classes, but the 4-star Gary, Ind., prospect is no longer part of it.
Johnson, a 6'3", 190-pound playmaker at West Side High School, opted to reopen his recruitment process after a six-month commitment to Ohio State. He initially created a verbal pact with the Buckeyes in May and spent time in Columbus this season.
Johnson attended the team's Oct. 26 game against Penn State.
He aimed to avoid speculation that Ohio State may have rescinded his offer, declaring on Twitter that it was entirely his decision.
"They did not pull the offer," Johnson wrote. "I did this on my own."
The Buckeyes' 2014 class includes 17 commits. The loss of Johnson dropped Ohio State from third to fifth in national recruiting rankings, according to 247Sports.
Meyer lost his grip on a promising pass target, but still holds commitments from several other options at receiver. Four-star prospects Parris Campbell (Akron, Ohio), Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis, Ind.), Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J.) each have potential to make an impact at the position next year.
Johnson, who could also play safety at the next level, landed on the national radar with an impressive junior season. He caught 31 passes for 777 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to 247Sports.
With Ohio State out of the equation, Johnson will sort through several other options. He is strongly considering South Florida, Cincinnati and Western Michigan, per 247Sports.
His offer list also features Indiana, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska.