Florida Punter Tommy Townsend Accepts Shrine Bowl Invitation

Zach Goodall

Punters are people (and NFL Draft prospects), too

Florida Gators punter Tommy Townsend has accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Bowl in St. Petersburg, FL, where he will showcase his talents to NFL scouting personnel in practices and an all-star game on January 18th.

Townsend joins Florida wide receivers Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain as Gators to accept invitations to the event. Van Jefferson had as well a couple of weeks ago, but recently received a promotion to the 2020 Senior Bowl with running back Lamical Perine and defensive ends Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga.

A semifinalist for the 2019-20 Ray Guy Award for the best punter in college football, Townsend is sure to get looks from NFL teams, albeit the likelihood of punters getting drafted is always slim. However, Townsend has the league in his bloodstream as his brother, former Gators punter Johnny, was a fifth round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Townsend averaged a flat 45 yards per punt during his two year starting career at Florida, posting 91 punts and a career-long punt of 71 yards against both Georgia in 2018 and Missouri in 2019. With 54 of his 91 career punts pinned inside the 20 yard line and a career hang-time average of 4.18 seconds, and considering only 22% of Townsend's punts have been fielded for a return (per Pro Football Focus), he's going to find a home at the next level.

And that home might view Townsend as a weapon. Sparingly, Townsend's legs have been used as a runner on top of punting at Florida, on fakes. Townsend has ran the ball on fake punts at Florida four times, gaining 23 yards and converting two first downs.

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