Turner inks with University of Kentucky
by Scott Brown, Sports Editor Email Scott
Feb 07, 2005 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kenny Ray Turner will remain a Wildcat next football season, but will exchange the Trigg County black for the University of Kentucky blue.

The TCHS senior signed an official letter of intent Feb. 2 to play football for head coach Rich Brooks and the Wildcats next season.

Friends and family members were on hand at the school's library to witness the event and wish the Trigg County senior luck.

Turner racked up numerous awards during his four-year football career at Trigg County and was named first-team all-state by both the Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

When he signs with Kentucky, he will be the first TCHS football player to attend a Division-I school since Robert Stinson in 1990. Stinson also played for UK.

"It’s feels very good. It’s an honor," Turner said. "There have been a lot of good football players come through here that could have played at that level and didn’t."

Turner made his decision last fall, becoming the first player to commit to UK’s 2005 recruiting class. The 6-7, 285-pound lineman had considered Louisville, West Virginia, and Cincinnati before choosing the Wildcats.

"I was at their spring scrimmage, and watched them practice. Their facilities are top of the line," Turner said.

This is the first year since 2001 that Kentucky will be able to use the maximum amount of 25 scholarships after spending three years on NCAA probation.

Turner is one of 23 players who have committed to attend Kentucky in the fall. That number dropped by one when Pennsylvania quarterback Bill Stull announced he was going to sign with Pittsburgh despite committing to UK in December.

Turner is one of eight offensive linemen in the class, with the other seven coming from outside Kentucky.

The linemen will have a new coach at Kentucky this fall in Jimmy Heggins, who replaced Paul Dunn who took a similar job at Pitt and was credited with helping the Panthers lure Stull away from Lexington.

Heggins was the offensive line coach the previous 11 seasons at Florida State, where his linemen earned All-America honors 12 times, including eight first-team All-America choices. His offensive linemen garnered 18 first-team All-ACC selections and 12 second-team All-ACC nods.

Turner said he met Heggins last weekend and called him "a pretty straight-forward guy."

Another coach Turner looks forward to working for is new offensive coordinator Joker Phillips, who was responsible for recruiting Turner to UK.

"Joker is a great guy, and I really trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and I kind of know what kind of offense he likes to run," Turner said.

Once signing the letter of intent is over and basketball season ends for Turner, he expects to spend a lit of time in the weight room.

""I’ll probably live there this summer. I need to get stronger," he said, but didn’t say what weight the UK coaches would like to see him at when he arrives in Lexington.

Kentucky will be entering the third year of Rick Brooks’ rebuilding process, posting a 6-17 record the past two seasons.

But next year, Kentucky will be close to the 85 allotted scholarships with the program slated to come off probation.

Turner likes the direction UK’s football program is taking.

"I feel very good about it. The program only has one place to go, and that’s up. With the recruits coming in that we have, we should be in good shape in a couple of years," he said.

The last obstacle for Turner to overcome is qualifying academically to play next year.

After averaging 17 points and nine rebounds on the basketball court last year, Turner opted to sit out the season to concentrate on getting his academics in order.

Once he felt comfortable with his situation, Turner rejoined the basketball team last month.

He said his last ACT score was just two points away from the minimum needed to qualify automatically. He takes the test again this week.

"I feel very good about passing it," he said.
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