As choices go, this was about as simple as it gets.
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer offered Orlando Boone punter Johnny Townsend a full scholarship to play for the Buckeyes on Tuesday, so the senior accepted.
"I went to the camp up there last Thursday and they told me to stay in touch," Townsend said. "I called Coach Meyer this morning and he offered me the scholarship."
Townsend, who averaged 42 yards per kick last season, had received just one other offer for a full-ride scholarship from Cincinnati. Alabama and Florida have offered preferred walk-on spots.
The Boone punter (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), who also plays safety and outside linebacker for Coach Phil Ziglar, said he was planning camp vists to Notre Dame, Northwestern, Miami and UCLA.
That was before Tuesday. He won't be making those trips, now.
"I had other offers and other opportunities, but none of them were as good as what Ohio State had to offer so I took them up on it," Townsend said.
Coached by local kicking guru Nick Fleming, of All-American Kicking, as well as nationally recognized kicking expert Jamie Kohls, Townsend is currently rated as the No. 5 punter in the nation on the KohlsKicking.com rankings.
Fleming and Ziglar, alike, say part of the key for Townsend is that he's a gifted athlete, not just a punter.
"I always say and tell all of the coaches, just like I told Coach Meyer, the best athletes also make the best punters," Fleming said. "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."
It was a surprising development for Townsend, who had not even talked with Ohio State officials until last week. His main recruiting contact was cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs until Meyer stepped in.
"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 said.
Everything has happened in a sort of whirlwind turn of events for Townsend, who also plans to try out for the Ohio State baseball team. He has been a three-year starter at catcher and outfielder for Boone High.
"It's kind of funny," Fleming said, "because we always used to fight about it when he was a freshman .. about whether he was a punter or a baseball player. I told him he should concentrate on being a punter because he always had such natural pop, such natural leg strength."
Towsend's rise to NCAA Division I-A punter doesn't surprise Fleming, nor does the appearance that Towsend's Ohio State pledge comes from out of left field, so to speak.
"Johnny's done a good job staying under the radar by not worrying about his rankings or worrying about the recruiting part of it," Flemming said. "He's always just really stayed focused on the punting aspect of it."
All things considered, however, no matter how you look at it, Townsend's vault from Boone to Buckeye has been quite the meteoric development.
"It's all pretty surprising that everything happened so fast. I did have a lot of pressure from schools to commit as soon as possible," he said. "I just held out as long as possible for something great to come out … something as great as this opportunity. It hasn't even been a week and they offered me."
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