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Florida punter Johnny Townsend to return for senior season

The Gators’ preeminent punter will be back.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators redshirt junior punter Johnny Townsend announced in a tweet last night that he plans to return to UF for his senior season.

Townsend is a terrific punter and did have a decent shot at being drafted, had be decided to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. Some mock drafts had Townsend listed in the later rounds.

Townsend led the FBS in punting average last season, averaging 47.9 yards per punt, and was named to various All-American lists.

Florida’s punter was also an AP and Coaches All-SEC second team selection, and a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, with 28 punts going beyond 50 yards and 25 punts landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Gator fans should be thankful to have the terrific Townsend back in orange and blue next season. He was one of Florida’s most valuable players again this year, helping the Gators’ struggling offense frequently flip field position, and did not shy away from participating in punt coverage after his kicks.

With the tandem of Townsend and Eddy Piñeiro back on the sidelines, Florida will again be well-situated with kicking specialists in 2017.