According to Don Callahan at InsideCarolina.com, Townsend signed a National Letter of Intent to attend North Carolina in 2008. However, an English class prevented him from graduating from Los Altos Hills (Calif.) Foothill CC, thus ultimately prohibiting him from enrolling at UNC this past fall.
Townsend, who reportedly runs a 4.88-second 40-yard dash, took five classes and was expected to graduate from Cupertino (Calif.) De Anza College in December.
"Joseph is a talented defensive addition to this class," said UNC head coach Butch Davis on National Signing Day '08. "We think Joseph will make an impact at defensive tackle. His year of experience in junior college should also be helpful as we develop our younger players."
In Townsend, Louisville is getting a virtual unknown commodity. The physically talented lineman hasn't played organized football since the 2006 season, when he played for Foothill CC. Since graduating from Valley Christian High School in 2005, he has played one season of football in that four-year span.
In one season at Foothill, Townsend was named first-team all-league in the Northern California Conference, recording 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. Foothill won the Silicon Valley bowl that year.
Townsend originally committed to Nebraska out of high school. He'll have two years of eligibility.
Townsend is the brother of Larry Townsend Jr., former defensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints.
Townsend, ranked a four-star defensive tackle by Scout.com last season, was ranked the No. 18 junior college player in the country by SuperPrep.