- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
In case a reminder was necessary, Urban Meyer provided one quickly.
Special teams are going to be a priority for him at Ohio State, just as the third phase was for him at Florida.
So much as Meyer did shortly after taking over the Gators, the first-year Buckeyes coach extended a scholarship offer to a specialist -- one that was snapped up by kicker/punter Johnny Townsend (Orlando/Boone) on Tuesday.
Back in 2005, Jonathan Phillips did the same as Meyer landed his signature in his first class with the Gators. And in both cases, Meyer wasted little time establishing a precedent in recruiting that carries over to the way Meyer prepares his team by stressing the kicking game. Meyer later reserved two more spots in recruiting for specialists during his Florida career, with needs on special teams certainly a factor in that decision as much as locking down talent.
The latter figures to apply for the Buckeyes in this class as they will lose senior punter Ben Buchanan, which surely opened the door for Townsend. And as for the latter, unofficially averaging more than 42 yards per punt helped take care of that.
"You know, he knows his stuff with special teams," Townsend said in a phone interview. "I think he's going to teach me the majority of the stuff that I need to know to be successful at the next level.
"I've watched what [Meyer] has done with his programs and what he does with special teams, and it's a big factor in games. He definitely knows how to use it as a weapon."
Now Meyer and the Buckeyes have settled on one to deploy in the future.
2dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman
6dDan Murphy and Brian Bennett