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National Signing Day: Ohio State and Alabama battle over a punter

February 06, 2013|By Chris Dufresne
  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a.k.a. Johnny Football, above, could end up playing against "Johnny Hang Time" if Alabama signs punter Johnny Townsend, who had been committed to Ohio State.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a.k.a. Johnny Football, above,… (Paul Moseley / MCT )

You’ve heard of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a.k.a. Johnny Football, who shocked college football last year by becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Well, Wednesday’s national signing day introduced us to punter Johnny Townsend, who may have earned the nickname “Johnny Hang Time” for keeping his signing day ball in the air so long.

This was another one of those intriguing and mysterious stories involving, of all position players, a punter.

Townsend seemed bound to Ohio State before he apparently switched allegiances to Alabama.

Or did Ohio State suddenly run out of scholarship space?

The important thing is that Meyer and Nick Saban, onetime Southeastern Conference coaching adversaries, apparently got locked in a recruiting battle over a kicker.

There was still no resolution Wednesday afternoon after Townsend, from Florida, canceled his scheduled announcement news conference. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Townsend was contemplating a personal matter. Townsend’s father denied that Ohio State had pulled his son’s scholarship offer at the last minute.

Stay tuned for the latest in this punt, "did Ohio State pass?" and kick contest.

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