Ohio State Buckeyes: Johnny Townsend

Five questions facing OSU in 2014 

March, 4, 2013
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Spring practice begins Tuesday at Ohio State, but the Buckeyes never stop recruiting.

On Feb. 6, Urban Meyer and Co. landed the third-ranked team in the nation after a 2012 recruiting campaign that put Ohio State sixth.

There are certain things we know about the Buckeyes as they fine-tune their lineup, and other things that need to be addressed.

Here are five questions facing the school as they turn the calendar completely to 2014:

1. What to do with the offensive line?

Spring forward: Kicking game breakdown

February, 28, 2013
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With national signing day in the books, the next big date on the Ohio State calendar as it continues working toward an encore for an undefeated season in 2013 is spring practice. Before those workouts begin, BuckeyeNation will take a look at each position to see where the roster is at -- and where it's going.

[+] EnlargeDrew Basil
Kirk Irwin/Getty ImagesDrew Basil is the incumbent kicker and is likely to take on punting duties in 2013 as well.
KICKER/PUNTER

  • Who's back: With all the firepower the Buckeyes have returning and an aggressive coach who would clearly prefer never to need anybody to boot the football, the loss of punter Ben Buchanan may not be that big of a deal. But no offense is going to be perfect on every possession no matter how much Ohio State might score this fall, which makes filling the void the senior left a high priority this spring -- and could give kicker Drew Basil plenty to do. The Buckeyes recruited and received a commitment from a punter before Johnny Townsend ultimately elected to stay closer to home and sign with Florida, which has created something of a dilemma for Meyer and newly promoted special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs. But Basil does have one more year left to contribute with the program, and he will be the leading candidate at both positions heading into camp next week.
  • New face: Frank Epitropoulos isn't new to the program, but he could wind up being a fresh option to fill the hole at punter. The graduate of nearby Upper Arlington was recruited as a wide receiver and was listed at the position last fall during his first year with the Buckeyes, but the big leg he showed off as a three-way player in high school when averaged more than 42 yards per punt will make him a candidate as a specialist and could help take some of the burden off Basil.
  • Projected spring depth chart: Basil should enter spring practice as the starter at both positions, with Kyle Clinton backing him up at kicker and Epitropoulos potentially pushing for work at punter.
  • Numbers game: Meyer's fearless approach paid off in pressure situations as the Buckeyes led the country in fourth-down conversion percentage last fall, but it doesn't leave much of a sample size to judge Basil's accuracy as a kicker. Heading into the final week of the regular season, the rising senior had attempted just six field goals, making four of them. The Buckeyes needed him to deliver against rival Michigan to close out the undefeated campaign, though, and he doubled his total by making four of his five tries in the victory.
  • One to watch: There aren't many candidates, leaving Epitropoulos as the most intriguing option for the Buckeyes among the specialists. His numbers in high school suggest he has the strength and ability to potentially be productive at the next level, and with Ohio State loading up with dangerous weapons at wide receiver and creating stiff competition for playing time at the skill positions, handling the punting duties could provide a clearer path for Epitropoulos to contribute.
  • He said it: "Kerry Coombs is an excellent coach who has a great deal of experience and expertise with special teams. He is an outstanding teacher, an excellent motivator and he has a true passion for special teams." -- Meyer earlier this month

It's combine time in the Midwest 

February, 14, 2013
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It’s time to camp.

With the signing period over, the need for the Class of 2014 to get noticed becomes paramount. This weekend, three big combines take place.


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Best OSU recruiting week ever? Possibly 

February, 11, 2013
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On the heels of an incredible national signing day, Ohio State had an equally good junior day on Sunday when offensive tackle Kyle Trout gave his commitment to the Buckeyes just ahead of defensive end Lawrence Marshall and speedy running back Parris Campbell Jr.

But it wasn’t all about commitments as big targets from 2014 -- Jamarco Jones -- and 2015 -- Damien Harris -- spoke well of their visits, too.

Friday saw a list of juniors ready to visit Ohio State this weekend, though a late change of plans kept Myles Autry and Nick Chubb from visiting Columbus, Ohio. By the way, offensive linemen will be the focus of the Buckeyes in this recruiting class.

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Gators flip 3-star punter from Ohio State 

February, 7, 2013
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The Gators have added yet another player to their 2013 class.


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BuckeyeNation signing day recap

February, 6, 2013
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We can almost put a bow on the 2013 recruiting class -- punter Johnny Townsend has not signed his letter of intent and is apparently having second thoughts -- and it was one of the best recruiting classes in school history.

The Buckeyes signed 24 players and finished third in the ESPN class rankings behind SEC powers Alabama and Florida, with 19 of the 24 signees at four stars or more.

Here's a recap of how the day unfolded. Follow the live blog after the jump.

(Read full post)

The Horseshoe isn’t the only place Ohio State beat Michigan this season, as the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class is currently ahead of the Wolverines after the final ESPN 150 and 300 lists were released.


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Meyer showing proficiency as closer 

January, 9, 2013
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Mariano Rivera, save the split-finger fastball. The same goes for you Rollie Fingers, with your almost unhittable slider. The best closer in the recruiting business might indeed be Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

On the job 13 1/2 months with the Buckeyes, the two-time national champion’s early returns show just how strong he is at slamming the door shut on a class.

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If fans don’t know about many of the Ohio State commitments in the recruiting class of 2013, it might be a good idea to watch some of the all-star games this weekend as nine pledges will be in action with a 10th getting recognized as well.

The sixth annual Under Armour All-America Game leads things off Friday with some of the biggest names, as defensive tackle Joey Bosa (70 tackles, 9 sacks), cornerback Cam Burrows (39 tackles, 14 pass breakups, fumble recovery), athlete Jalin Marshall (2,186 total yards, 25 Tds) and two-way star Gareon Conley (1,096 receiving yards, 16 Tds, 25 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, interception) headline the event.

Also joining the four ESPN 150 seniors will be ESPN 300 tight end Marcus Baugh (38 catches, 610 yards, 4 Tds). Baugh showed up big for the Buckeyes on Wednesday when he won the American Family Insurance Skills Challenge at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for offensive and defensive linemen.

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Marcelys Jones ready to lead 2014 class 

December, 27, 2012
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The first commit in any recruiting class is always big.

Ohio State’s coaches want to build a strong relationship and hope that player will be the mouthpiece for an entire year or maybe more.

[+] EnlargeMarcelys Jones
Brad Bournival/ESPN.comMarcelys Jones, the first commit in OSU's 2014 class, will take on his own recruiting role.
In the class of 2013 it was Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison). What followed was an Ohio State secondary with the potential to be incredible.

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OT Kenny Lacy plans OSU official visit 

December, 11, 2012
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If there’s a spot for an offensive lineman in Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class, it’s pretty evident who the Buckeyes are going after if it’s not David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech).

It became clearer today when UCLA commit Kenny Lacy (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) scheduled an official visit.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive tackle was floored by Ohio State’s interest on Nov. 29, saying it was a big offer.

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Year in review: Ups, downs for specialists 

December, 7, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, wrapping up today by rewinding to look at the kicking game and a group of special-teams contributors that were stretched by injury during a roller coaster campaign.

SPECIAL TEAMS
[+] EnlargeCorey Brown
Jim Rinaldi/Icon SMIReceiver Corey "Philly" Brown became the playmaker that Urban Meyer was looking for on special teams.

  • Most valuable player: Roles on special teams just aren't handed out under Urban Meyer, though that doesn't change the fact they're valuable proving grounds for players looking to make an impression, as the Ohio State coach is so heavily involved with the kicking game. It also doesn't just apply to younger players, since it was junior Corey "Philly" Brown's explosive contributions on punt return that seemingly helped his role on offense expand as the season progressed and the Buckeyes gained even more confidence in his ability to make something happen with the football in his hands. Meyer had been somewhat critical of Brown's ability to make defenders miss early in the season, but his 76-yard punt return against Nebraska helped seal a blowout victory and signaled that the wide receiver was turning a corner as a playmaker.

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How Ohio State commits fared 

December, 3, 2012
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Jayme Thompson’s statistics weren’t that impressive on paper, but it can be argued the Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic safety is the reason the Fighting Irish beat Trotwood-Madison 16-12 in the Division II state championship.

His tackle on a fourth-and-2 call in the second quarter set up Central Catholic for a touchdown to make it a 14-point contest.

He was also part of a defense that held the Rams to 227 yards total offense.

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OSU '12: In eyes of commit, recruit, coach 

November, 28, 2012
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Urban MeyerJim Owens/Icon SMIUrban Meyer and the Buckeyes went on a historic journey in 2012, and recruits certainly noticed.

The dynamics of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s first season with the Buckeyes weren’t like many others in the Big Ten or in the nation.

The two-time national champion inherited a squad that went 6-7 that wasn’t bowl eligible and had a roster full of players he didn’t recruit. Add to that question marks at some key positions and Meyer’s 12-0 season was the stuff of legend.

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2013 class ready to join solidified Bucks 

November, 26, 2012
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Jayme Thompson, Cam Burrows, Ezekiel Elliot, Eli WoodardTom Hauck for ESPN.comOhio State pledges Jayme Thompson, Cam Burrows, Ezekiel Elliott and Eli Woodard were all in Columbus on Saturday with their fellow friends in the 2013 class.

Ohio State commits sat surrounded by cement on Saturday and all they could talk about was concrete.

What they saw Saturday was a foundation for an Ohio State house they hope will be strong by the time they graduate.

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OSU Lets Spence Practice
ESPN Ohio State reporter Austin Ward breaks down Urban Meyer's decision to allow defensive end Noah Spence to practice while he awaits word on his status.
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