Gator All-Star Week: Johnny Townsend

It is ‘All-Star Week’ here at Fightin’ Gators as we highlight the players we feel are in for a banner year with the 2016 Florida football team. With that in mind, our Tuesday All-Star is junior punter Johnny Townsend.

How he got to Florida: Johnny Townsend was committed to Ohio State for quite some time. In the last week before signing day, the Gators came calling and Townsend switched his commitment and signed with Florida on signing day. A lifelong Gator fan, he was hoping for the opportunity for the entire process and didn’t hesitate to make the switch when he did much to the dismay of one former coach of the Gators. 

Gator All-Star Week: Jalen Tabor (Saturday)

Gator All-Star Week: DeAndre Goolsby (Sunday)

Gator All-Star Week: Caleb Brantley (Monday)

What he’s done at Florida:  Townsend was supposed to redshirt in his 2013 freshman year, but when junior starter Kyle Christy struggled midway through the season, Will Muschamp made the change. The change worked beautifully and Townsend proceeded to boot his way to the SEC All-Freshman Team with a 42.0 yard average and six of his punts pinned inside the 20 yard line. He then redshirted in his second year as Christy found his form and won the job back. As a redshirt sophomore in 2015 Townsend was either a first or second team All-SEC selection depending on which outlet you were looking at. On 93 punts he averaged 45.4 yards, which was good for third in the country. Along with his Academic Honor Roll status, he was also a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top punter.

Why he is a projected All-Star candidate: Townsend is already an All-Star and just has to stay on task with everything he is doing. He has a chance to win the Ray Guy Award this year with just a minor improvement in his consistency.

There is little doubt he was a weapon for Jim McElwain a year ago and helped pin opponents inside their 20-yard line 30 times and had 29 punts of 50+ yards. With a better offense that is expected, that first number is the one that should increase.

Townsend can also kick off and has one 66-yard kickoff to his name in his time at Florida.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects Townsend as the top NFL Draft eligible junior punter for the 2016 season. As this is his fourth year, time will tell if that is going to be something he considers afterward,

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