Taver Johnson named UA cornerbacks coach

Taver Johnson, who joined the Arkansas football program in January of 2012, has been named cornerbacks coach for the Razorbacks, UA head coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday (Jan. 3).

Johnson was named assistant head coach and guided the linebackers in 2012 after coming from Ohio State where he spent five seasons as cornerbacks coach before being retained following the Buckeyes’ coaching staff change in December of 2011.

In his first spring practice in Fayetteville, Johnson handled all of the administrative duties of the head coach while leading the Razorback football program over the final two weeks.

“I am thrilled Taver Johnson will remain a member of the coaching staff at Arkansas as he will provide stability for our student-athletes,” said Bielema. “Taver spent five years in a championship culture prior to coming to Fayetteville, and his tremendous abilities as a leader were seen by the entire nation during the spring and throughout the 2012 season. His coaching style is extremely enthusiastic and he has always shown an incredible commitment to the development of student-athletes.”

The Razorbacks ranked fifth in the SEC and 20th in the NCAA in rush defense and fifth in the conference and 24th in the nation in red zone defense.

During his five seasons in Columbus, Ohio State put together a record of 50-15 that included four straight Big Ten titles and BCS appearances. Johnson helped produce 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner Malcolm Jenkins, who was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer. The Buckeyes had three cornerbacks selected in the NFL Drafts between 2008-12, led by Jenkins as the 14th overall pick by New Orleans in 2009. Ohio State had three different cornerbacks earn four first-team All-Big Ten honors under Johnson.

In 2011, the Buckeyes ranked fourth in the Big Ten in turnover margin and fifth in the conference in pass defense. Ohio State also ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA in total defense and scoring defense.

Johnson served as special teams coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2004. He was the linebackers coach at Miami (Ohio) from 2000-03. During that time he produced four first-team All-MAC selections, including two-time honoree Terrell Jones, who finished his career among the top 10 tacklers in program history.

He was a graduate assistant in 1999 at Notre Dame where his responsibilities were on the defensive side of the ball in addition to working with the Irish defensive scout team.

Johnson spent the 1998 season as the defensive coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. His defense ranked first in scoring defense (14.1 points per game) in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and was ranked second in total defense.

Johnson coordinated all recruiting activities at Millikin and was also involved in practice organization, game planning and film breakdown.

In 1997, Johnson was the linebacker coach at Millikin after serving as the strength and conditioning coordinator at Millikin. During the 1996 season, he also was the director of the Fitness and Wellness Center at the school. He spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons as the defensive line coach at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

Johnson is a native of Cincinnati and a high school graduate of Cincinnati Academy of Physical Education (C.A.P.E.) After an outstanding high school career, he went on to play three years of football at Wittenberg, where he was a two-time All-American and the North Coast Athletics Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993.

Johnson and his wife Sharday, a Toledo marketing graduate who ran track for the Rockets, have a son, Tyree and a daughter, Brooklynn.