Orlando Punter Johnny Townsend Commits to Ohio State
By Tony Gerdeman
Noted kicking-phile Urban Meyer has finally landed his punter for the 2013 class as Ohio State got a commitment from Orlando's Johnny Townsend on Tuesday. Townsend (6-2 200) was offered a scholarship by Meyer Tuesday morning and wasted absolutely zero time in taking the Buckeye coach up on his offer.
"I went to the camp up there last Thursday and they told me to stay in touch," Townsend told the Orlando Sentinel. "I called Coach Meyer this morning and he offered me the scholarship."
Townsend, who won the award for best punter at Alabama's camp, chose the Buckeyes over a scholarship offer from Cincinnati, as well as preferred walk-on spots with Alabama and Florida. As a preferred walk-on, Townsend would have had to pay his own way, but he would have been guaranteed a spot on the roster. He also would have been able to earn a scholarship at a later date.
With punter Ben Buchanan graduating after this season, a punter in this class was a must for Ohio State. There had been a few assumptions from some people that 2012 signee Frank Epitropoulos could be the punter beginning in 2013, but those same people need to remember that Epitropoulos is a wide receiver who punts, not a punter who plays wide receiver.
Still, Townsend certainly won't be handed the job and will have to complete with a number of candidates, Epitropoulos included. The competition will be a heated one as well, because it will be eyeballed in its entirety by Urban Meyer himself.
If you attend an Ohio State football practice, you will notice Meyer working with the punters like a position coach, and it's something that certainly intrigued Townsend.
"One of the things that made it interesting to me was that Coach Meyer said he would be working directly with me since he coaches the punters and kickers and he said he takes special teams very seriously," Townsend told the Sentinel.
Nick Fleming, who runs All American Kicking in Orlando, has worked with Townsend and can't sing his praises enough.
"I always say and tell all of the coaches, just like I told Coach Meyer, the best athletes also make the best punters," Fleming told the Sentinel. "Johnny is definitely one of the best in the nation and what makes him so talented is all of the small things.
"Things like his operation time are really overlooked, and as far as that is concerned, he's already at the college level. He can catch the ball and kick it in 1.2 seconds. Most high school kids take 1.6 seconds, which doesn’t sound like a big difference but it really is when taking all things into consideration."
Jim Tressel says that the punt is the most important play in football, and for as much personal attention as Meyer gives it, it seems like he would agree.
Townsend, who says he averaged around 40 yards per punt, also told the Sentinel that he would like to try and play baseball for Ohio State as well. He plays catcher and outfield and has been a three-year starter.
He will not take anymore visits. Townsend is Ohio State's 12th commitment, with room for around eight more.
1. Cameron Burrows (6-1 195), DB Trotwood, Ohio
2. Jalin Marshall (6-0 190), ATH Middletown, Ohio
3. Billy Price (6-4 280), DT Youngstown, Ohio
4. Eli Woodard (6-1 185) CB Voorhees, New Jersey
5. Evan Lisle (6-6 265) OT Centerville, Ohio
6. Ezekiel Elliott (6-0 200) RB St. Louis, Missouri
7. Jayme Thompson (6-2 184) DB Toledo, Ohio
8. Marcus Baugh (6-4 229) TE Riverside, California
9. Tracy Sprinkle (6-4 270) DL Elyria, Ohio
10. J.T. Barrett (6-1 209) QB Wichita Falls, Texas
11. Joey Bosa (6-5 260) DE Fort Lauderdale, Florida
12. Johnny Townsend (6-2 200) P Orlando, Florida
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