March 24, 2010

Louisiana lineman seeing offers pile up

Trai Turner is hard to miss at 6-foot-5, 340-pounds. As a massive, two-way lineman for a talented St. Augustine program in New Orleans, not many defenders missed him either. However, up until this spring, somehow college coaches managed to look past him.

In late February or early March though, Turner picked up his first scholarship offer from Tulsa. Since then numerous schools have followed including Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, SMU, Southern Miss and Tennessee. Now Turner has a highlight film to show off and the interest should only continue to increase.

"It's been somewhat steady," Turner said of his recent recruitment. "I just made my highlight tape not even a week ago. Since then schools have been contacting me and checking on my grades and ever since it's been like daily."

With multiple offers under his belt, Turner has only attended two junior days, both at programs that have yet to offer: Alabama and LSU. Both of those schools are high on his list and trips to each went well.

"Those trips went pretty well," he said. "Especially with Coach Burns (Alabama running backs coach). He's from New Orleans and he used to coach at St. Augustine. He told me to keep working hard and they're definitely interested. They're just waiting to see what happens with scholarships.

"LSU really didn't know too much about me until Coach Frank [Wilson] got there and now they've seen my film and everything's picking up and I'm getting a lot of emails."

As a southern Louisiana native, Turner is predictably interested in the LSU program but its wait-and-see approach to his recruitment has not put him off.

"LSU, I know they have limited scholarships they could give out but coach is telling me that they definitely want to give me one," he said. "They're waiting to see how it plays out with Greg Robinson. They're only taking four or five offensive linemen and they already have two or three committed and a few out of state offers. Basically I'm on the back hand."

Turner understands that he's in a unique situation and so is LSU. But he also has confidence in his abilities.

"I was slow getting into the whole recruiting process so I can't be mad at them but I can't be mad at myself either," he said. "I know I'm good enough to get an LSU offer. If it comes it means it's meant to be, if not then it isn't."

LSU is looking at Turner as a big interior offensive lineman. Alabama isn't even sure that they want him on the offensive line at all, with visions of him on either side of the ball. Turner is open to whatever happens in that situation as well.

"Alabama has been going back and forth with offense or defense," he said. "I don't really know how that's going to play out (in regards to a scholarship) but I just know that I'm really high on their board."

With the ability to play on both sides of the ball and as a possible projection at both offensive tackle and offensive guard, Turner doesn't care where on the field he ends up as long as he is on the field. Playing time will be a major factor in his decision.

"Depth chart is the first thing," he said. "Second thing most likely will be what are the academics for my major that I'm going into. Third would be my relationship with the coaches. I was thinking along the lines of majoring in business administration or management and agricultural studies."

Turner is used to being on the field. He has been a starter at St. Augustine since his sophomore season. Now that he's a senior, he's ready to continue to build on the recent success in the program.

"I'm excited to be a senior, just to be able to lead my team, not only being a leader but being a senior leader," he said. "I don't feel anything about losing seniors. We had a really young team. I feel we can get it done with the people we have. The famous quote is real true. You're only as strong as your weakest link. If we work as a team we'll win as a team."



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