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Buckeye-bound? Lonnie Johnson isn’t saying just yet

West Side's Lonnie Johnsruns ball against Hobart August 17th West Side. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

West Side's Lonnie Johnson runs the ball against Hobart August 17th at West Side. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 20, 2013 6:30AM



Lonnie Johnson is going to be a Buckeye, probably.

Johnson, a cornerback/wide receiver for West Side, realized his dream when Ohio State called his head coach and uncle, Jason Johnson, last Friday and made him a scholarship offer.

Lonnie had called a news conference at West Side for later this week, when he was expected to make the news official, according to multiple sources. However, that news conference was called off Tuesday. Jason Johnson said that Lonnie wants to wait until after the seniors on the Cougars team make their college choices before he commits.

Lonnie’s offer from the Buckeyes came as a wide receiver, which is a bit of a surprise.

Jason had pushed for Lonnie to make the move permanently to cornerback in college because he believes it could be his ticket to the NFL.

There aren’t many college or professional cornerbacks who possess the size and speed that Johnson does. Johnson is listed at 6-3, 188 pounds on a series of video highlights that his coach made for him. Last year, he finished fifth in the state in the high jump and he was part of a state qualifying relay team in track. Earlier this season, in a profile on Johnson, he called OSU his dream school and he said he was just waiting for an offer.

The other two schools that offered were Bowling Green and Illinois. Johnson’s hesitation will undoubtedly intensify the recruiting process. Expect other schools, like Notre Dame and Purdue, who have been recruiting him, to consider making an offer.

Johnson was a first-team all area selection for the Post-Tribune on defense after breaking up 10 passes and intercepting four. He also finished the season with one sack.

Lovie should stick around

I wanted to say something lucid and enlightening about the Bears but I’m at a loss for words. Yes, this team has been so inept, mostly on offense, over the last six weeks that words won’t do anymore.

Just watch them play — or try to play — and you can write your own column about it.

However, I do hold a rock-solid position or three about this organization and team: The Bears can fire Lovie Smith — after they dump Devin Hester, after they find about three more serviceable offensive linemen and after they figure out why Matt Forte isn’t nearly as explosive as he was last year before he was injured. They also need to add a pass-catching tight end, get rid of Mike Tice and let Brian Urlacher gracefully retire.

After that, they can have a psychologist work with Jay Cutler to try to figure out why he gets so surly when the pressure escalates (A terrible trait for a quarterback to have. Does Tom Brady ever go crazy on players in public?) and why he continually throws awkwardly off his back foot.

Then, the organization can do a thorough evaluation of Smith and try to decide if, after nine seasons, he is still the right fit.

The Bears have drifted in neutral since they lost to the Colts in the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, and it is maddening.

If it’s Smith’s fault that they have failed to beef up the offensive line over the last several seasons, the most egregious of their errors, then he should be fired.

I don’ t blame the personnel issues on offense on Smith. That was mostly a Jerry Angelo problem and now it’s a Phil Emery problem.

I’m not at all interested in dealing with an extended coaching search for a seasoned assistant (because that is who the Bears hire). That almost certainly guarantees a rebuilding project. I just don’t have the time or patience for it. I’d rather give Emery one more season to see if he can fix the problems than wait two or three while starting over.



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