2014 WR Malik Turner Turns Heads At UI Camp

The Fighting Illini football coaching staff is searching high and low for outstanding receivers to play in its new spread offense. While he's only an upcoming junior, Malik Turner shows excellent promise. The Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin athlete earned plenty of attention at a UI summer camp in East Peoria recently.

Malik Turner didn't have much chance to prove himself with Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin last year.

"I started with the varsity until I broke my ankle in the third game. So I sat out the rest of the season."

As a result, he lacks the name recognition of others in his class. But Turner showed all the attributes needed to be a standout receiver at an Illinois summer camp in East Peoria recently.

At 6'-1.5", 200 pounds, he has excellent size. He ran a forty yard dash in 4.42, and he showed excellent hip flexibility by burning a 4.06 shuttle. He impressed Illini coaches and himself.

"Yeah, the shuttle and the forty were a big improvement."

Overall, Turner enjoyed the camp.

"It was good. We got to compete, and I got to learn a lot of new stuff."

He feels he has all the assets needed to be a standout receiver and a highly recruited prospect.

"I can get separation, and I can go up and get the ball. I can shield the ball from the defender. And I can accelerate once I get the ball."

Of course, there's always things to learn. Illini receiver coach Billy Gonzales pointed out one technique in particular he wants Turner to improve.

"Coach Gonzales told me to work on my release and my footwork when I try to release."

Turner says he had no college favorites growing up. He is disappointed he hasn't heard from more of them.

"There aren't many schools in touch with me yet. I hope the injury is the reason for the delay."

Ten members of Sacred Heart Griffin's football team toiled in the Illini camp. Besides Turner, senior receiver Eric Brydl ran a 4.52 forty, and junior receiver Nate Lowis wasn't far behind at 4.61. It appears the Cyclones will have a potent passing attack this fall.

"We look pretty fast. We've got a lot of good receivers, and we have a quarterback that can get us the ball. We will be better this year than last year."

If the quarterback is as good as he claims, Turner should enjoy a breakout season and have many colleges knocking on his door.

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