Wrapping up one of the odder arcs in recent Ohio State recruiting history, punter Johnny Townsend, an Ohio State commit since June 19, 2012, has sent in a National Letter of Intent to the Florida Gators. Rumors broke our early yesterday afternoon that Townsend was waffling on his commitment to Ohio State, though the reasons never became clear exactly why.
Rumors have trickled out that perhaps Ohio State was asking him to wait to sign in the event that one player departs the program or is declared medically unable to play (as the Buckeyes are up against their NCAA mandated ceiling of 82 scholarship athletes right now). In the event that that opening never occurred, the Buckeyes were hoping Townsend could be talked into gray-shirting (e.g. take a year off and then sign with 2014's class). However, Townsend had turned down overtures from Alabama before committing to the Buckeyes for the very same reason, and whether circumstances changed or he simply decided he didn't want to wait to play his college football, Townsend is now a Gator. Townsend's father insisted to the Orlando Sentinel that Ohio State did not pull his son's offer, but instead Townsend simply had a plurality of options to choose between that weren't necessarily on the table originally when National Signing Day finally rolled around.
Even in the absence of the punter, Ohio State maintains what amounts to the #2 class in the country when averaging the four major recruiting services. Scout.com even ranks Ohio State's class at the nation's best. Drew Basil, the Buckeyes' kicker, punted in high school and could fill the void generated by Ben Buchanan's graduation. Wide receiver Frank Epitropoulous was also a punter in high school. The team could also potentially fill the void with a walk-on (such as Kevin Niehoff, or someone outside the program).