98 Thomas “Pepper” Johnson

Pepper Johnson Ohio State
usaUnited States
Detroit, MI
High School
Past Teams
Ohio State
1982, 1983, 1984, 1985

Post-OSU Update: Pepper Johnson was a second round pick (51st overall) in the 1986 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Johnson was a longtime starter in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Giants and making two Pro Bowls (’90 and ’94). He played 193 games (158 starts) and made 1,090 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, and 14 interceptions. Not long after his playing days, Johnson began a coaching career under Bill Belichick (a former coach with the Giants and Browns). After a 14-year coaching career with the Pats, he coached for a number of teams in the NFL, the AAF, XFL, high school (head coach at IMG Academy), and USFL. (updated: Feb. 2024)

Major: Recreation Education (1984-85), Communications (1983), Computer Science (1982)

Weight: 248 (1985), 234 (1984), 224 (1983), 216 (1982)

1985 Media Guide: One of the top inside linebackers in college football … the top player on the Buckeye defense in 1984 … has won three letters at Ohio State … strong, agile and punishing, he is a dominant player.

1984: Chosen defensive captain … led the team in tackles with 140, far more than the next nearest player with 77 … played 315.5 minutes last year … had three interceptions, five stops for a loss, broke up five passes and recovered four fumbles.

1984 Media Guide: Will start at one inside linebacker position … has all the tools to be a standout.

1983: Played 168 minutes as the top replacement at the inside linebacker positions … made 92 tackles, third-highest on the team even though he started only one game.

1983 Media Guide: A strong candidate to start this year … extremely quick and aggressive … has increased his strength through the shoulders due to a conditioning program.

1982: Lettered as a freshman, playing largely with the specialty teams.

1982 Media Guide: Considered an exceptional athlete with a great desire to excel.

High School: Won all-Metro and all-Michigan honors at Mackenzie High … played linebacker on defense, tight end on offense and was the team place kicker.

Personal: Nicknamed “Pepper” … hobbies are swimming, pinball and pool … lifts 600 pounds from the squat and presses 370 … admires Art Schlichter, Randy Gradishar, Randy White and “Magic” Johnson.


SeasonTeamGGSTklSoloAsstTFLTFL YdsSacksSack YdsFFFRIntInt YdsPBUBlkDef TD
1982Ohio State0061500000000NA00
1983Ohio State1119238542122121113300
1984Ohio State121114077635181934340500
1985Ohio State121114174675242191200100