A big opportunity is available on the interior defensive line this season and redshirt sophomore Austin Johnson figures to be among the primary challengers for a starting assignment. Both starting defensive tackles from last season, Kyle Baublitz and DaQuan Jones, have departed, providing the talented and physical Johnson with an opportunity to earn significant playing time this year. Johnson's efforts in the weight room have helped him gain more than 15 pounds since the start of the 2013 season. He brings excellent physical attributes, toughness and drive to the field and weight room. Johnson appeared in all 12 games last season with a pair of starts, recording 27 tackles, with 3.0 tackles for loss. Johnson was an all-state and All-South Jersey honoree at St. Augustine Prep, which produced former Nittany Lion defensive end Jack Crawford, a 2012 NFL Draft choice who plays with the Oakland Raiders. He is among 12 returning Nittany Lions from New Jersey on the 2014 roster.
2013 (Sophomore Season)
In his first season on the field, Johnson appeared in all 12 games with two starts, including his first career start against Kent State. He recorded 27 tackles, with 3.0 tackles for a loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. Johnson opened the season with one tackle in the win over Syracuse before making a season-high six stops, including his 0.5 sack, against Eastern Michigan. Johnson contributed three tackles (two solo) against UCF. In the Big Ten-opener at Indiana, he recorded three stops and followed with two hits, including 1.0 TFL, in the four-overtime win over No. 18 Michigan. Johnson made his second career start and tallied two solo tackles in the victory over Illinois. He posted three solo stops, including 1.0 TFL, at Minnesota. In the 45-21 win against Purdue, Johnson registered two tackles, including 0.5 sack, and recovered his first career fumble to set up a third-quarter touchdown run by Zach Zwinak. He made four tackles (three solo) and a quarterback hurry in the big 31-24 win at No. 14 Wisconsin in the season-finale.
2012 (Freshman Season)
Johnson was named all-state, All-Cape-Atlantic League and All-South Jersey during his senior season, helping lead St. Augustine Prep to the Cape-Atlantic League championship. He was selected a team captain during his junior and senior seasons under Coach Dennis Scuderi. Johnson was a second-team All-Cape-Atlantic League and second-team All-South Jersey selection during his junior year. He was invited to participate in the Chesapeake Bowl, All-Cape-Atlantic League all-star game and the New Jersey North-South game. Scout.com ranked Johnson among the nation's Top 25 prep defensive tackles. He also was all-state in basketball and was named Cape-Atlantic Player-of-the-Year as a senior. Johnson helped the Hermits to the NJSIAA Non-Public Group A state championship during his junior season.
Full name is Austin Hunter Johnson. He is the son of Austin and Tammy Johnson, and has two older sisters, Brandi and Erika, and one younger sister, Kennedy. He enjoys playing video games and lifting weights. Johnson intends on majoring in management in the Smeal College of Business and would like to own his own business. Born May 8, 1994 in Galloway, N.J.