Sources: Buckeyes hire Ash, Johnson

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State once again has a full coaching staff, and its beleaguered defense has two fresh faces to get started on the overhaul on that side of the ball.

The Buckeyes reached a deal Tuesday with Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash, sources told ESPN's Joe Schad, and have officially announced the hiring of Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr.

In a release on Wednesday, Johnson said: "In just a few hours I can tell that Ohio State cares about football. There is a winning tradition that is important here. They care about academics and they care about players, and I like the way [head] coach Urban Meyer approaches things. He's a great teacher. He is very organized and this is what I was looking for."

Meyer praised Johnson in a statement "as a family man, as a coach and mentor of young men, and as a recruiter. He is an outstanding addition to our coaching staff."

Ash is expected to fill the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach role vacated by Everett Withers when he took over as the coach at James Madison. Johnson will replace defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, who was hired by the Houston Texans.

"I've got no comment right now," Ash told ESPN.com. "Nothing is official."

Ohio State has not confirmed the Ash hire, which was first reported by SI.com.

The coaching vacancies were the Buckeyes' first since Urban Meyer finalized his first staff prior to the 2012 season.

Ash will be expected to reshape a unit that struggled mightily against the pass this season, finishing No. 110 in the nation in yardage allowed through the air and contributing to a close call against Michigan and a current two-game losing streak for the Buckeyes, as Ohio State gave up 1,133 passing yards in its final three games.

Ash spent just one season at Arkansas, but he had established himself as one of the top defensive coaches in the Big Ten while serving at Wisconsin, helping the Badgers reach three Rose Bowls and ranking No. 13 in the nation in total defense in 2012.

Johnson will inherit a young, talented group that led the Big Ten in sacks. The longtime Penn State assistant was the last holdover from Joe Paterno's staff after being hired in 1996, and he was a candidate for the head-coaching job prior to James Franklin being hired.