Been trying to make sense of this all day. Spoke to Johnny as recently as Monday and he was PUMPED to be a Buckeye, so I wasn't buying the "family issue" stuff.
What I think I have come to is that Urban did not want to oversign with this class, whether he knows people are leaving or not. He didn't expect to get all three of Clark, Wilson, and Bell, so he never thought this issue would come up.
When it did (currently at the 82) he asked Townsend to delay signing his letter of intent until they figured out how to deal with it. Options were either announce he would be a preferred walk-on and give him a scholarship when one opens, or tell him to wait past NSD before publicly announcing anything and then commit once someone they know is leaving announces their intent to transfer.
That's just how I see it and is an educated guess, but certainly not fact. Take it for what it's worth.