June 11, 2010

Time at new position leads to SEC offer

After going through some individual testing on Thursday, Paul Turner arrived at the proverbial fork in the road.

Turner, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder from West Monroe, La., passed for 1,523 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 1,069 yards and 22 scores as a quarterback to lead the Rebels to the Louisiana state championship.

On Thursday, however, Turner tried his talents on defense at Ole Miss. That proved to be a very good decision.

Turner, trying cornerback for the first time, wowed Ole Miss' coaching staff and left Oxford to return to north Louisiana with a scholarship offer in hand.

"I talked it over with (Ole Miss safeties) Coach (Kim) Dameron and decided to go over to defense (Thursday)," Turner said. "It was my first time playing (defensive back). Coach Dameron and (Ole Miss recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks) Coach (Chris) Vaughn said I did an excellent job. Right after the camp, they decided to offer me. I was very surprised and excited, especially with it being Ole Miss."

Turner said he felt himself gaining momentum and comfort throughout the day Thursday.

"At the beginning, I was kind of shaky on what to do," Turner said. "As the day went on and I got acclimated and they gave me some tips, it went smooth. I was kind of expecting them to say they were going to watch and see how everything goes or tell me they wanted me to come to another camp. I guess God works in many ways."

Turner also got a chance to check out Ole Miss a little before returning to West Monroe. He liked what he saw.

"I thought Ole Miss was a beautiful campus," Turner said. "Everything is right together. I thought the coaching staff was great. I really like Coach (Houston) Nutt and all of the coaches were laid back and cool. I thought in general Ole Miss was great.

"They're right up with the rest of them. They're at the top, in my eyes."

Ole Miss joined Texas A&M, TCU, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, McNeese (La.) State, Tulane, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky and Navy as schools that have extended scholarship offers to Turner.

"I'm going to just wait until the season is over," Turner said in regards to his timetable to make a decision. "I really haven't set a date yet."

Turner said the only other camp he is planning to attend this summer is Tulane's camp at Neville High School in Monroe, La., on June 24.

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