Taver Johnson named defensive backs coach at Purdue

Photos courtesy of the University of Arkansas Athletics
Photos courtesy of the University of Arkansas Athletics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell has announced the hiring of Taver Johnson to coach the defensive backs.

“I am thrilled to have Taver Johnson join our staff as the new secondary coach,” Hazell said “He will bring energy and passion to that group. Taver has a wealth of experience from major college football as well as the NFL. I’ve seen him work up-close and in-person and love what he brings.”

Johnson joins the Boilermakers after having spent the previous two seasons at Arkansas. He served as the Razorbacks’ assistant head coach and linebackers coach in 2012 and as the defensive backs coach in 2013. He was named the interim head coach at Arkansas in the spring of 2012 prior to the hiring of John L. Smith.

A coaching veteran since 1994, Johnson worked with Hazell at Ohio State from 2007 through 2010. In all, Johnson spent five years on the staff at Ohio State (2007-11), where the Buckeyes won four straight Big Ten titles and played in four BCS bowl games. He 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 Draft during his tenure, 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.

Prior to coaching at Ohio State, Johnson was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) in 2005 and 2006, the special teams coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2004 and linebackers coach for the Redhawks from 2000 to 2003.

He served as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 1999, where he worked on the defensive side of the ball and scout team. He served as the defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and strength and conditioning coach at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., and as 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 Athletic 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.

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