Ohio State has been in a bit of a rut recruiting for this year’s class. After adding Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal in the wake of the spring game, Ohio State lost both for different reasons. The Anzalone story is one that probably does not need to be belabored. Thereafter, Ohio State has been fairly quiet filling out this class and Buckeye fans were do for some good news. The good news: we have a new commitment. The news you didn’t see coming: it’s from a punter. Johnny Townsend, a punter from Orlando, Florida, committed to Ohio State today.
The question for Ohio State fans is probably whether we actually needed a punter. To be sure, Ben Buchanan is graduating, but we had thought that incoming freshman Frank Epitropolous could slide into that role if he could not find a home at wide receiver or safety. However, Meyer and company feel that Epitropolous is best served (at the moment) trying his luck at wide receiver for Ohio State, certainly given the numbers situation at that position. The attitude on Meyer’s end, and really: most any elite college coach’s end, is that the position is too important to leave to the chance of a walk-on. So, even in a limited class, Ohio State’s coaching staff felt having a punter on scholarship was necessary.
As for why it is Townsend and not someone else, well, Townsend is legit. He won the Nick Saban Punting Competition held a few months ago, and was extended a preferred walk-on offer from the Crimson Tide. I know, you’re laughing about Nick Saban thinking of putting a walk-on on scholarship. He also held an offer from Cincinnati and another preferred walk-on offer from the Florida Gators. A lifelong Florida Gators fan, Townsend took the bird in the hand offer from the former Florida coach. He, and his family of Gator fans, will get to cheer Townsend at Ohio State under the former two-time national championship winning Florida Gators coach.