Over the next 19 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at freshman punter Johnny Townsend.
Townsend was a surprise commitment in the 2013 recruiting class. It was long thought that Townsend was heading to Columbus, Ohio to join Urban Meyer’s team and become a Buckeye.
That was until Nick Saban and Will Muschamp got in touch with Townsend and made him offers that really made him stop and think about his college plans.
Townsend told Gator Country in the summer that it was the hardest decision that he ever had to make and getting on the phone to tell Meyer that he was going to Florida was a very difficult phone call to make.
In the end, Townsend signed a letter of intent to Florida and he hasn’t looked back or regretted the decision once.
Townsend has great leg speed and gets the ball out quickly. His “A” ball is what made him one of the most sought after punters in the class. He normally averages 4.5 seconds or better of hang time on his kicks, which is very good. He has a nice natural trajectory on his punts and gets very good hang time. He is a very athletic dual-sport athlete (he also plays baseball). Townsend has also shown that he can handle pressure very well.
Townsend needs to work on being more consistent. Consistency is something that Florida has had a lot of with Chas Henry and now Kyle Christy at punter. Along with consistency, Townsend needs to continue improving his leg strength.
What to Expect
Florida has an All-American punter in Christy, so Townsend won’t be called upon this season unless something unforeseen happens to Christy. Townsend has a high ceiling and a ton of potential but he will have to bide his time the next two seasons while Christy still has eligibility.
Townsend appears to be the future punter for the Gators, but when you have a junior punter who is an All-American and possibly the best punter in the country, a freshman – no matter how good he is – is going to have to wait his turn.
Expect Townsend to redshirt this season, giving him an extra year of eligibility and to take over punting duties for Christy in two seasons.