Townsend picks Tigers

by - Senior Writer -
Lateek Townsend during a 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice at Gustafson Stadium in San Antonio, Tx. (Photo: Icon SMI)

CLEMSON – Hopefully Lateek Townsend will be as good at avoiding blockers as he is at avoiding questions about his college choice.

The 4-star linebacker out of Marlboro County committed to Clemson during the 2011 U.S. Army High School Football All-American Game in San Antonio. He chose Clemson over South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and LSU.

Townsend has been sending mixed signals to reporters and fans for weeks, declaring his love for South Carolina in Facebook posts and text messages to reporters, and even told reporters earlier in the game that he would be committing to South Carolina.

However, Townsend donned a Clemson cap as he talked to a reporter, giving the Tigers another solid linebacker recruit, joining B.J. Goodson of Lamar High School. He is rated as the 8th-best outside linebacker prospect in the country, and the No. 172 player overall, regardless of position.

Townsend’s high school coach, Dean Boyd, said the fact that Clemson recruited Townsend first helped at the end. Even so, he had no clue which direction his player was leaning.

"They were on him first," said Boyd, who was with Townsend at the time of the announcement. "I had no clue. His dad knew but his mom didn't know. I just hope he doesn't waver back and forth and sticks with his commitment. He had been strong with Clemson all along. It's a good move for him. Either (Clemson or South Carolina) would have been a good choice for him."

He will take his official visit to Clemson next weekend, and was scheduled to visit LSU on January 21st before the commitment. Townsend had 132 tackles, including 15 for loss and 4 sacks this past season.

In a previous interview with TigerNet, Boyd said Townsend is the complete package at linebacker.

“He has exceptional speed, and any time you have that kind of size and speed and willingness to get to the football, that is a good combination,” said Boyd, who has coached Townsend for four years. “He is so tall and quick, and he has done a good job for us. He just has that talent and that speed. But he is also wide open all the time, and that is one reason he has been recruited so much. He just knows one speed, and that is wide open, all the time. His motor never stops.”

Photo: Icon SMI

Boyd said he knew he had a special player on his hands from the beginning, but it was during Townsend’s sophomore year that he knew that Townsend had a chance to play beyond high school.

“His sophomore year, we were playing against Colleton County or Dillon, and he goes out there and just has a real big game,” Boyd said. “He was all over the place. He had double digit tackles, and we realized then that if he has more time, he could be really special. And he has been that way since then. It is nothing for him to have double digit tackles every game, and not many players have it happen like that.”

However, Townsend is more than just a read-and-react linebacker, his coach says.

“He is really good at film study, and knows what the offense is doing out there, and he knows the tendencies of the offensive line, the running backs and the quarterback,” Boyd said. “He is also a reaction guy, and he goes hard, is so strong and has that great speed. In college, he may even be a guy that puts his hand down on the ground. This year alone, he has played safety, inside linebacker, middle linebacker and outside linebacker. He can play any number of positions. It will be just what he grows into and what he wants to do.”

Lateek Townsend Junior Highlights

Lateek Townsend Sophomore Highlights

2011 Football Commitments

1. Shaq Anthony		OL  6-5  260 Piedmont, SC (Wren HS)
2. Isaiah Battle 	OL  6-7  260 St George, Virginia (Blue Ridge HS)
3. Mike Bellamy		RB  5-10 180 Punta Gorda, FL (Charlotte HS)
4. Martavis Bryant	WR  6-3  195 Hargrave Military Academy
5. Corey Crawford	DE  6-5  275 Hargrave Military Academy
6. Cortez Davis		DB  6-3  200 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
7. Kevin Dodd		DL  6-5  270 Greer, SC (Riverside HS)
8. B.J. Goodson		LB  6-1  215 Lamar, SC (Lamar HS)
9. Joe Gore		DE  6-6  262 Lake Waccamaw, NC (East Columbus HS)
10. Adam Humphries	WR  5-11 176 Roebuck, SC (Dorman HS)
11. Grady Jarrett	DL  6-1  280 Conyers, GA (Rockdale County HS)
12. Marlin Lane		RB  6-1  190 Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS)
13. Eric MacLain	TE  6-5  245 Fayetteville, NC Jack (Britt HS)
14. Jerome Maybank	DT  6-4  310 Pawley's Island (Waccamaw HS)
15. Tony McNeal    	QB  6-1  180 Chester, SC (Chester, HS)
16. Ryan Norton		OL  6-4  275 Mauldin, SC (Mauldin HS)
17. Charone Peake	WR  6-3  200 Spartanburg, SC (Dorman HS)
18. Robert Smith  	ATH 6-0  180 Ft Dorchester, SC (Woodland HS)
19. Stanton Seckinger   WR  6-5  200 Charleston, SC (Porter-Gaud HS) 
20. Cole Stoudt	        QB  6-3  195 Dublin, OH (Dublin Coffman HS)
21. Colton Walls     	LB  6-2  230 Charlotte, NC (Latin HS)
22. Sammy Watkins     	WR  6-0  200 Fort Myers, FL (South Fort Myers HS)
23. DeShawn Williams	DT  6-0  280 Central, SC (Daniel HS)
24. Lateek Townsend     LB  6-0  200 Bennettsville, SC (Marlboro Co HS)  

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