SAN ANTONIO - One of the many Ohio State commits that took part in Saturday's U.S. Army All-American game was Orlando (Fla.) Boone punter Johnny Townsend. Townsend handled all of the punting duties for the East team throughout the week and afterwards was excited to come away with the victory.
"The win was definitely huge for the East side," Townsend said. "We were working hard all week and putting in a lot of extra time and it paid off. It felt awesome coming out on top."
Townsend had an excellent week of practice, showing off his strong leg during the afternoon special teams sessions. What he will take away most from San Antonio, however, is the relationships that he built with the other All-Americans.
"It's a once in a lifetime experience for sure," he said. "It was the top athletes in the nation and getting to spend so much time with them and getting to know them and build relationships was great."
Townsend was even able to put on his recruiting hat during the week, doing his part to let four-star linebacker Mike Mitchell know that he would be welcomed with open arms in Columbus. Mitchell chose the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter of the game on Saturday and Townsend was happy to be there to see it go down.
"That's awesome," he said. "The Buckeye commits, we were talking to him all week and mentioning stuff to him and everything. It's a huge pick-up for Ohio State, definitely."
Mitchell mentioned his relationship with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer as a major factor in his decision. That is definitely something that Townsend can relate to as Meyer was the biggest factor during his own recruiting process.
"Just the fact that I'll get to work one-on-one with coach Meyer," Townsend said, on why he chose Ohio State. "I really think he's the best special teams coach in the country. There will be nothing better than just getting up there and getting some work in and starting to learn everything."
While punter's may not draw a ton of fanfare, especially when it comes to recruiting, Townsend is arguably among the most important incoming freshmen that Ohio State will have this fall. Townsend will be the only scholarship punter on the roster and he knows what the expectations are.
"I definitely feel like I need to be ready to go," he said. "Nothing is ever handed to you and you just have to work your butt off the entire time and you can't be expecting anything."
Givler's Breakdown from San Antonio:
Townsend definitely had a strong week of practice down in San Antonio, showing a strong leg that was routinely hitting 45-50 yard punts during practice. More important than that is that Townsend was very consistent with getting good hang time on his kicks which allow his coverage team to get down the field and limit the return yardage that the opponents can accumulate.
Townsend had a couple of sub-par punts during the game, but both of those came off of great pressure by the West team where he had to get the punt off quickly to avoid a block. When he was given time, he boomed a 50-yarder that was downed on the West team's five yard line.
Watching Townsend all week definitely eased concerns about the position next year and he should be able to handle coming in and being 'the man' from day one.