Taver Johnson enters his first season with the Silver and Black as the assistant defensive backs coach, bringing 25 years of experience to the post. Johnson joins the Raiders after serving his second stint with Ohio State as the cornerbacks coach last year.
Johnson returned to Ohio State in 2018 as a cornerbacks coach after previously serving as a defensive backs coach from 2007-11, helping the Buckeyes post a 13-1 record and claim the eighth Rose Bowl victory in school history. Johnson tutored a young secondary unit that held opponents to a 32.7 percent third-down conversion rate on the season, ranking 15th in the nation. Johnson also helped CB Kenall Sheffield get drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, earning a fourth-round selection.
Before returning to Ohio State, Johnson spent the 2017 season at Temple as the defensive coordinator. Johnson led a defense that ranked first in the American Athletic Conference and 11th in the nation with 39 sacks. The unit also finished 11th in the country with 102 tackles for loss.
Johnson worked as the defensive backs coach at Purdue for three seasons (2014-16). Under Johnson’s tutelage, his unit recorded double-digit interceptions all three seasons while having a member of his unit lead the team in tackles during his first two seasons (S Landon Feichter – 105 in 2014 and S Leroy Clark – 88 in 2015).
Johnson joined Purdue after spending two seasons with Arkansas as the assistant head coach/linebackers coach (2012) and the defensive backs coach (2013).
In his first stint at Ohio State, Johnson served as the defensive backs coach from 2007-11, helping the Buckeyes win four straight Big Ten Conference titles and earn four BCS bowl game appearances. Johnson helped Ohio State rank fifth nationally in scoring defense in back-to-back years (2009-10). Johnson’s unit ranked in the top-15 in passing defense for three consecutive years (13th in 2009, eighth in 2010 and 14th in 2011).
Johnson tutored three All-Americans during his first stop at Ohio State in CB Malcolm Jenkins (2008), S Kurt Coleman (2009) and former Raider CB Chimdi Chekwa (2010). Jenkins won the Thorpe Award in 2008 as the nation’s most outstanding defensive back under Johnson’s guidance. Including Jenkins, five players from Johnson’s secondary went on to be drafted into the NFL.
From 2005-06, Johnson returned to Miami (Ohio) as the defensive coordinator. In Johnson’s first season in charge of the Redhawks’ defense, his unit ranked fifth in the nation in turnover margin.
Johnson started at Miami (Ohio), working with the linebackers for four seasons from 2000-03.
Johnson first entered the NFL as a special teams assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 2004.
In 1999, Johnson spent one season at Notre Dame as a graduate assistant, working on the defensive side of the ball and on the scout team.
Johnson began his coaching career at his alma mater Wittenberg, an NCAA Division III school, working with the defensive line from 1994-95. He then spent three seasons at Division III Milikin serving as the linebackers coach from 1996-97 before being promoted to the defensive coordinator in 1998.
PERSONAL: Native of Cincinnati, Ohio…A two-time Division III All-American at Wittenberg and North Coast Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993…Received his degree in business administration from Wittenberg…Johnson and his wife, Sharday, have a son, Tyree, and a daughter, Brooklynn.