After dominating last season with 73 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks as a junior, Townsend is off to a terrific start this fall. Through four games, Townsend already has 23 tackles and three sacks in leading the Normans to a 3-2 start.Read More Below
When Beverly Hills High defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. rips an opposing quarterback to the turf, it's hard not to liken him to his father. After all, Greg Sr. spent 13 years in the NFL chasing down quarterbacks and finished his career 16th on the NFL's all-time sack list (109).
Townsend, however, attributes his on-field intensity as much to his mother's influence as his father's.
"My dad taught me all the technique," says Townsend. "But my mom taught me the passion and fire I have. She would always want me to go hard, be physical."
That's a message that Townsend's taken to heart during his three-plus years at Beverly Hills, using his strength and bruising playing style to impose his will on offensive linemen. His 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame makes him a matchup nightmare and his arsenal of moves forces offenses to either double-team him or avoid him altogether. Now a senior, Townsend's physicality has helped him become one of the most highly sought after recruits in Class of 2011.
Townsend's father has been vital to that success as well, training with his son to show him all of the moves he used during his illustrious career with the Los Angeles Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles. He provides Townsend with the football-savvy to accompany his size, something that played a major role during Townsend's impressive junior year campaign when he notched 73 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks.
The most dynamic feature of Townsend's game is his speed: He runs a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash, a time better suited for a linebacker than a defensive end. Factor in his explosive first step and it's no wonder that the senior has been contacted by nearly 50 different college programs to date. His favorites right now are USC, Washington and TCU, his father's alma mater.
Despite his hype, Townsend isn't feeling any pressure. He's focusing on weightlifting, academics and the official visits that he'll be taking over the course of the next few months. He's also embracing his newfound role model status at Beverly Hills High, a school known more for its glamour than the gridiron.
"I have to respect my peers, show responsibility in the classroom, in the hallways," says Townsend. "Because people do look up to me. I see that."
A former hoops star, Townsend credits his basketball background for developing his advanced hand-eye coordination, conditioning and reaction abilities. Yet he's relishing the opportunity to muscle up in a way he never could while stationed in the paint.
"My favorite part of playing football is I get to be physical without getting fouls called on me" says Townsend. "You get to run around and hit people."