Ohio State Football: Punter Johnny Townsend Spurns OSU, Signs with Florida

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2013

Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com
Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes signed one of nation's top recruiting classes yesterday, receiving Letters of Intent from 19 outstanding prospects to complement the five freshman who already enrolled at the campus earlier this winter.

The coaching staff spent the day waiting for the last fax from 2-star punter Johnny Townsend to roll in, but national signing day came and went with Ohio State left in the dark.

It was an unexpected twist from one of the earliest commitments in Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class. Townsend has been committed to the Buckeyes since June, and never once showed any indication of wavering on his allegiance to Ohio State.

That changed in a big way on Wednesday when rumors began to swirl that Townsend was considering a flip to Alabama because of a "family matter."

On Thursday afternoon, though, Townsend went in a different direction and signed with the Florida Gators, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Orlando Boone punter Johnny Townsend decides to sign with #UF #Florida #Gators over #OhioSt #Buckeyes orlandosentinel.com/sports/blogs/r…?

— Sentinel Recruiting (@OS_Recruiting) February 7, 2013

The loss of Townsend is actually quite a blow for Meyer and the Buckeyes. Ohio State lost its only true punter—Ben Buchanan—to graduation last year.

Of course, there are players on the team capable of taking over the punting duties in 2013. Senior kicker Drew Basil has a huge leg, and redshirt freshman wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos was recruited as a possible punter for the team last year.

Townsend's flip was surprising because he had an outstanding chance of landing the starting spot his first year on campus.

Despite Townsend's deflection, Meyer should be happy with how the 2013 recruiting cycle played out. With the likes of Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson, James Clark, Corey Smith and Ezekiel Elliott joining what was an already stellar offense, punting isn't something Ohio State plans to do very often this season.


David is the lead Ohio State football writer for B/R. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.