Though kicker Drew Basil has earned the confidence of everyone from Ohio State special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs to his head coach, Urban Meyer, and has been widely expected to punt in addition to his placekicking duties his coming fall, there were still some murmurs that the Buckeyes might be keeping their eyes and ears open just in case the right situation presented itself. According to the Columbus Dispatch, that may have just happened.
Per the Dispatch's Bill Rabinowitz, 21-year old Cameron Johnston is in the process of flying halfway around the world from Australia to United States to punt for the Buckeyes. The kicking coach who trained Johnston told the Dispatch that the Buckeyes, who've yet to confirm the addition, will announce it after Johnston arrives states side. He also speculated that Johnston's leg is "unlike anything...anyone at Ohio State will have seen."
There's certainly plenty of recent precedent for ex-Aussie rule punters having success in college football. LSU's emphatic Brad Wing was known not just for his high effectiveness punting, but also his athleticism when he kicked the last several seasons for the Bayou Bengals. Wing has since moved on to try his craft at the professional ranks for the Philadelphia Eagles.
After missing out on now inbound Florida freshman Johnny Townsend, who'd committed to Ohio State last summer but decommitted mere hours before Urban Meyer's National Signing Day 2013 press conference, the Buckeyes have been looking for special teams depth. A player of Johnston's skill set, even if somewhat unorthodox, could present just that. Johnston's coach also insinuated that if he hadn't landed with the Buckeyes, he would've waited a season to play at Alabama next year.
From the sounds of it, Johnston may also share the kind of engaging personality that made Wing popular in the LSU locker room. We'll keep an eye out in the days to come, but it should be interesting to see the kind of potential impact Johnston can have, even if it doesn't come until 2014 or beyond.
Check out Johnston in action below: