2014 commit: Drew Turnage

East Carolina got its second verbal commit for the 2014 class in Ayden-Grifton (N.C.) safety Drew Turnage. Inside ECU Sports spoke with him about his decision.

Drew Turnage S/RB, 6-0, 185 lbs, Ayden-Grifton High School, Ayden, North Carolina

Interview transcript

So you got your offer last Friday (May 13), and committed this Monday (May 13). How'd this all go down? Take me through it.

"(Defensive-back) Coach (Rick) Smith came to my school Friday and we went over the principles of everything," Turnage said. "He offered me on the spot and I was overwhelmed. I went home to talk to my family and they knew that's (ECU) where I wanted to go. I thought about it a lot on Saturday night through Sunday and decided I was ready. So then I committed on Monday."

With ECU being your only offer so far, talk about the decision to commit. How easy was it?

"It seems easy because it was so quick, but it took a lot of thought. I didn't want to drop the other schools that were talking to me, but it's a risk I have to be willing to take. ECU is the best choice for me."

What were the biggest factors that played into your decision?

"The biggest factor for me was whether the school had a sports medicine major," Turnage said. "A lot of schools have it, but when I heard ECU did too it made it that much easier. Also I grew up playing here (Ayden, N.C.), I would play my football games on Friday nights and then go watch them (ECU) play on Saturdays. It has been a dream and a goal of mine to play at ECU."

You're the first 2014 defensive commit, does it give you a sense of pride?

"It does, it gives me a sense of leadership in the class. I was the first verbal commit on defense, so I want to be the first to do a lot of things in this class. I want to start at the top, but I know it will take hard work."

In your highlight tape, your scoring touchdowns for special teams and at running back, while also playing safety. Has ECU spoken with you about seeing some offensive time when you arrive?

"I'm going to be a safety," Turnage said. "I enjoy playing those other positions, but being able to deliver the big hits for my team fires me up more. I like offense, but feel I'll last longer on defense it'll be better for the team, plus I like being a physical player. I'll play whatever they want me to play because I have multiple skillsets, I'm just willing be coached."

Do you expect to come out and compete for a starting role or have the coaches talked about red-shirting you?

"As of right now I think I'm red-shirting, but if they want me to go out and play my first year I have no problem doing it. Size means nothing; if you can play you can play, if you can flat out ball you can flat out ball. I know it'll be a patient process and I know I'll have to work, but that's what I am doing right now so I'll be ready if they call my name."

What's your best asset as a player?

"My ability to cut, I have quick feet. If I mess anything up or a receiver turns me the wrong way my speed and change of direction allows me to recover. I can cover a lot of ground and do everything at full speed. My 40-yard dash time is 4.42 consistently, but I'm working to make it faster."

What are your summer plans? Are you working to improve on anything in particular before you arrive on campus?

"I'm still working out with the school (Ayden-Grifton) this summer," Turnage said. "We do some extra stuff working particular skillsets. We also do a lot of game-simulations to work on our football IQ, coach puts us in situations where we face adversity regularly to make sure we react correctly. Personally I'll be working to get better at dropping my hips, explosiveness and becoming a better player overall."

When are you going to join the team?

"I don't want rush into things, but I'll think about that after the football season and see where I'm at. If I make any all-star games it could affect my summer plans."

What is something interesting about yourself that people wouldn't generally know at first glance?

"Most people at first glance think I'm a mean guy," Turnage said. "I'm a good guy at heart; football isn't just about being a good player it's about being a good person too. It's about what you're doing when no one is looking. I am out here volunteering with elementary school kids right now for a field-day their having. I like to do things like this and take pride in my character."

Final thoughts

Before committing to ECU, Drew Turnage started to see increased interest from UNC Charlotte, Wake Forest and N.C. State.. The Pirates were the first offer for Turnage and that was good enough for him. He became the second verbal commit and the first defensive player to commit in the class of 2014. Defensive Coordinator and Secondary Coach Rick Smith must be excited to have Turnage committed. He has the potential to be a weapon in the secondary and on special teams. Turnage may red-shirt his first season, but the most important thing is this player is enthusiastic about being a Pirate and that could lead to big things.

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