Brother of former Husker with offer from NU

For defensive tackle Joseph Townsend, junior college is a stopover point as he gets ready for life in Division 1-A. Just over a year ago, that was going to be Washington State. Now, though, it's up in the air as his opportunities are growing. And one of those recent ones happens to be where his brother played and won two national titles. Will the Townsends have another "blackshirt" in the family?

Normally, when I talk to recruits and ask them what they know about Nebraska, if they are from one of the coasts, it's usually not much more than vague memories of the Huskers when they had players like Tommie Frazier or some are doing good if they know that it's in the central part of the United States.

Not Joseph Townsend, though. You ask him about Nebraska, he doesn't give you names everyone knows about, but names like Reggie Baul, who only Nebraska fans would remember as a stellar player for the big red.

He knows, because he has been in Lincoln, gone to the games and cheered on the Huskers, just like everyone else. Of course, that's because his brother was a member of the famed "blackshirts" during that time.

Playing defensive tackle for Nebraska, Larry Townsend came to the Huskers about as recruited as a player can be, sporting offers from USC, Texas, some of the Florida teams – you name it – Townsend chose to play his collegiate days as a defensive tackle for the big red.

Joseph remembers those times, those games, and it would be hard not to imagine himself doing what big brother did just about a decade ago. "Nebraska is definitely one of those types of teams it would be an honor to play for," Joseph said. "I get chills down my back whenever I hear someone mention the blackshirts. The crowd, the tradition and everything – that's just a place that it would be great to play."

When you look at Townsend, it would seem that there's the potential he could follow where his brother went, but he's also following a lot of just how he plays. At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and 295 pounds, Joseph sports a tackle-sized body, but he's got end-like quickness. Add to that a bench that is approaching 400, and a squat close to 500, he's getting close to what he thinks would be ideal for Division 1-A.

But not as close as his brother

"We go work out and he'll do 225 and I'm like ‘ok'," Townsend said of working out with his brother. "I'd do it and then he would put on 300, do it and I'd do the same. But then he'd throw on four wheels (400 lbs.) and bench it about 10 times, and he's talking to me the whole time he's doing it."

"I can't touch that yet, but I will. I'll get him before I am heading to college."

That's where Townsend is one of the lucky ones, Joseph one of the rare junior college players looking at four years to play three when he's done with this season at Foothill JC. That three years of eligibility make him instantly attractive to schools looking for a DT with some experience facing more than talent from the high school ranks.

What Townsend will tell you what makes him the most attractive, though, is the fact that unlike a lot of players his size, what he uses to succeed will have him ready to contribute the instant he gets to the elite level of college football. "I've got hands. It's my biggest strength," Townsend said. "My brother always told me that you can't waste time messing around with the guy in front of you. You have to get around him and you can do that pretty easily if you have good hands."

"But that's not all I can do. I like to think of myself as the complete package."

Originally a commit to Washington State, Townsend had the grades coming out of high school, but felt just a bit short on the ACT. But instead of playing football right away at the junior college level, Joseph wanted to take care of the reason why he was there in the first place. "I took like 22 units, because grades aren't going to keep me out of college," he said. "That's been my biggest priority since I went to J.C. I'll play my first year of football this up-coming season and then we'll see how everything goes. I figure the recruiting will heat up, because grades won't even be close to an issue this time."

As the recruiting is bound to heat up, Joseph is looking at all the potential choices he'll have in the future. He's looking at a variety of teams, but he's obviously starting with those who have shown him the most love. And with the Huskers at least, there's another reason he's a fan of the big red, which actually doesn't have a thing to do with what he learned about them when he brother was a Husker.

"Coach Blake is a big reason why I like Nebraska as much as I do and probably a big reason why I am visiting there on September 30th," Joseph said of defensive line coach John Blake. "How many rings does that man have from college and from his time with Dallas?"

"He knows what it takes. He's got the knowledge. For anyone that plays defensive line, you have to love that."

Reading this, you probably see about a thousand reasons why Townsend would choose Nebraska. He is related to someone who was a Husker; he's obviously got the offer from the Huskers; he sees that his potential position coach at Nebraska has a ton of experience in the NFL; he realizes the entire starting defensive line is graduating after this year.

But there is one key thing that's missing:

"I want to be sure about where I go, no matter where it is," he said. "I like teams like Miami and Maryland, who are known for good defense. Plus, there are a lot of other schools I am looking at too."

"But what matters is what the place feels like to me and not as a fan, but as a player. I might get that on the Nebraska visit, but I might get that someplace else or I might end up right back at Washington State."

"I'm taking my time with all this, so I know that I have explored every opportunity I have. It's like a second chance at recruiting for me, so I plan to make sure that I do it right."

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