D-Line prospect to visit

With Antwan Odom seriously considering declaring for the NFL draft, Alabama faces the possibility of losing two of its top three defensive ends. Junior college lineman Chris Turner of Northwest Mississippi could help fill that void.

At 6-4, 275 pounds, Turner could project at either end or tackle. Timed at fast as 4.8 in the 40-yard dash, he was originally signed by Florida State out of Jacksonville's Ed White High School but did not qualify.

Since then Turner has played two seasons at Northwest. But he says he doesn't necessarily feel an obligation to re-sign with the Seminoles.

"I just came here with another friend," Chris Turner told TheInsiders.com in an interview Tuesday night. "I was not a sign and place."

With the Tide in need of impact linemen, Turner's name quickly came up.

"Mainly Sparky Woods and Joe Kines are recruiting me," Turner said.

Alabama fans aren't necessarily thrilled with any of their defensive coaches right now, but Kines' past history coaching at Florida State is working in Bama's favor with Turner.

Turner explained, "Coach Kines was at FSU and now he is Alabama, so that tells you that is good about him."

Working mainly at defensive end, Turner totaled 13 sacks and more than 60 tackles this past season for Northwest. He's willing to play wherever needed, but he does have a preference.

"Defensive end is my favorite position," Turner said.

Following the season Turner was named second-team All-State for the MACJC.

Turner will visit the Alabama campus this weekend, along with teammates Terrence Smith (linebacker) and Chris Herring (defensive tackle). All three athletes say the Tide's serious interest in the trio started a couple of months ago.

Turner lists his favorite schools as Florida, LSU, Alabama and Texas Tech. He says he's hearing the most from the Red Raiders.

Chris Turner could handle either defensive end or defensive tackle. (photo courtesy of Northwest Mississippi CC)

But phone calls don't equal official visits. And Turner will sign with the school where he fits in best.

"I went to Texas Tech in October," Turner said of his official visits. "I am going to Alabama this weekend. Then, I don't know if I will set up anymore visits."

Beginning in the fall of 2004, Turner will have three years left to play two seasons of football.

RECRUITING NOTES: Schools are limited in the number of official visits they can extend, so by definition the Tide is obviously interested in Turner. Also, major schools like Alabama do not sign junior college players unless they believe the athlete can contribute right away.

Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 22 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.

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