Cameron Johnston Named Semifinalist for Ray Guy Award

By Kyle Rowland on November 8, 2013 at 10:23a
Just a freshman, Cam Johnston is killing it.

He's only punted 26 times all season, but that hasn't stopped Cameron Johnston from being among the most efficient punters in the nation. On Friday, he earned recognition for his efforts, as he was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award.

As little as five months ago, Ohio State fretted about what the punting situation would be this season. Nightmare scenarios ran through Urban Meyer's head after one-time commit Johnny Townsend spurned the Buckeyes for Florida. But the problem was solved after Johnston, a YouTube sensation, committed to Ohio State during the summer. 

Punters often go unnoticed until they do something bad. Well, Johnston's performance has been impossible to ignore this season, and it has nothing to do with blocked punts or shanks. It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter of the fifth game that he even surrendered a return yard. On that night against Wisconsin, Johnston pinned the Badgers inside the 20 on all six punts and inside the 10 on five. It earned the 21-year-old freshman his first Big Ten special teams player of the week award. 

On the season, Johnston is averaging 41 yard per boot with a long of 61. The three yards he allowed to Jared Abbrederis remain the lone return yards against the Buckeyes all season. 

But the statistics don't end there. Johnston's rate at pinning opponents inside the 20- and 10-yard line is the stuff of All-Americans. He's second in the nation at placing the ball inside the 20 (61.5 percent) and third at dropping the ball inside the 10 (26.9 percent).

“If we want to ooh and aah, we can do that any time,” special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs said. “At the same time, teams that do that have returns that are extreme. We want to cover kicks. We want to split the field and make sure other teams don’t return the ball.”


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buckeyeEddie27's picture


I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

sharks's picture

That's for our Jewish friends. You want 'oi, oi, oi'.

A man got to have a code...

Tony's picture

I can't stop watching. I think I'm going to have a seizure soon.

JozyMozy's picture

That's not a seizure you feel coming on.
Son, it's about time we had a talk...

doodah_man's picture

I am almost to the point where I am happy during those rare times when we turn the ball over on downs. C Johnson's magic followed by our stars on Defense makes for a good show. Cam will go down in history with Tupa and Nugent as one of the all time great punters at tOSU!

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

andyb's picture

I think Nugent was a kicker there chief.....If you meant Special teams extraordinaire then yes I agree!

NewEraBuckeyes's picture

Maybe you're thinking of Andy Groom?
He was the punter for the NC team and he was a GOOD one.

Triv's picture

BJ Sander wasnt too shabby himself

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

jedkat's picture

*puts on most immature childish hat available*
Is there ever a shabby BJ?
*removes hat quickly and leaves*

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

awarren84's picture

Also you don't punt on a turnover on downs. I appreciate your enthusiasm though!

"Anything less than flagrant is just playing grab ass!"

MountainMan957's picture

Is there a stat for total return yards? I realize that it's a special teams effort, but 3 f-ing yards has to be tops.

Not all who wonder are lost.

Matt Gutridge's picture

I have a breakdown of this under Hodge's post below.

osubuck57's picture

Love the return yards stat!! Who would have thought he'd be so good as a freshman??


lljjgg's picture

Evidence as usual that Urban's second option (if one were to be disrespectful enough to call Mr. Johnston that) is better than most people's first.

Trust in Urbz. Glad to hear Johnny Townsend's doing good things at UF, but I really think OSU got a fantastic deal in Cam. May turn out to be the better deal in the end. You could argue it already is.

GoBucksToledo's picture

With Florida's pitiful offense, I have to believe that Johnny Thompson is getting a lot more action! 
Maybe he knew that would be the case and that's what made him change his mind?


Is Townsend even punting for UF? I think we made out pretty well in this deal!

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

InTressITrust's picture

Yeah he is starting.

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

buck-I.8's picture

And averaging 44 yards a punt

1MechEng's picture

Johnny Townsend - P
2013: 43.6 yd. avg. on 12 punts ... in 2 games! Long of 61. He's only gotten 3 inside the 20.

Buckeye1004's picture

26 punts....3 return yards!
41 yard average!
16 inside the 20
7 inside the 10
That changes the field position!
Welcome to America Mr. Johnston
Glad you're a Buckeye!
O    H

Hovenaut's picture


And of course,

Oi, Oi, Oi!

TMac's picture

Cam may only have 6 more punts before the B1G CG......

ONE Not Done!

NoVA Buckeye's picture

My freshman year in HS, we had an all-district (conference) punter that didn't even punt 10 times the entire year

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

hodge's picture

Really interesting stats on punting from ESPN, where we're ranked 15th with a net of 40 yards.
Where it's strange is the return numbers, which seem to say that we've surrendered 16 returns for 177 yards.
Here's the lines, as seen on ESPN:

Ohio State     26      1063    61    40.9  40.0    16      177     11.1

RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

Surely ESPN wouldn't use false information to make tOSU look bad, would they? They always seem so objective in their coverage of football.

OSUAeroEng's picture

Accounting for touchbacks, perhaps? Even so, that still wouldn't make any sense.

But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. So much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.  -Dr. Who, "Love and Monsters"

JrSprad's picture

I could be wrong but I believe that those are our punt return numbers and not our opponents.

00Buck's picture

Return yards.....not punt avg...... it would state inside 20 etc...etc...

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

Matt Gutridge's picture

Ohio State Ranks sixth in the nation and is No. 1 in the B1G Ten in Punt Return Defense averaging 1.50 yards per return.*
Punt Return Defense (123 ranked):
No. 1 Boise State -0.38 yards per return.**
No. 6 Ohio State 1.50 yards per return.
* Punts that are downed, out of bounds or fair caught do not count toward punt return average.
** Boise State has negative punt return yards for the season, pretty impressive.
source: NCAA Stats