Townsend, a 6-3, 285-pound defensive tackle, attended high school at San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian and played one season (2006) at Los Altos Hills (Calif.) Foothill C.C.
In his 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 went 10-1 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl.
Townsend was ranked among the nation's top JuCo defensive tackles last year, earning a four-star status from Scout.com. He was also ranked the No. 18 JuCo player in the country by SuperPrep.
He originally signed in Feb. 2005 out of high school with Washington State, but spent 2005 trying to qualify and then headed to Foothill. After an impressive 2006 season, he was then recruited by Tar Heel assistant John Blake at Nebraska, and signed with Nebraska in Feb. 2007, but didn't qualify in time for enrollment and didn't play during the 2007 season.
Towsend had still planned to attend Nebraska until a late decision by the Cornhuskers.
"I didn't sign on Signing Day because I was committed to the University of Nebraska and then they decided they didn't want any JuCo players," Townsend said. "So they kind of left me with a month to try to find some schools. I looked around and everyone was pretty much full."
The prior connection with Blake enabled the two to re-connect.
"I knew Coach Blake when he recruited me [when he was at] Nebraska," Townsend said. "We called a close family friend of ours and he told us to call John Blake at the University of North Carolina. We called him and he kept in contact with me telling me to get my transcripts so that he could get everything set-up. He said he's very interested in me and knows I'm a good player. And then they sent me a letter-of-intent on Saturday."
Blake was the main reason that Townsend, who has never been to the state of North Carolina, decided to sign with UNC.
"When he was recruiting me at Nebraska we had a good connection and he puts guys in the NFL," Townsend said.
Kansas State, Hawaii, Oregon, and Texas A&M also pursued Townsend.
Townsend sat out both 2005 and 2007, and he now has three years of college eligibility remaining and no available redshirt season. He turned 20 years old in December.
His older brother, Larry Jr., lettered for the Huskers as a defensive tackle for Nebraska's national championship teams in 1994 and 1995.
Having received Townsend's Letter of Intent on Saturday, UNC will review the letter and make sure his documents and transcripts are all set. If everything is approved, the football program will then send out a press release announcing that he is officially signed.
Townsend said he will graduate in May and plans to enroll at UNC this summer.