GREENSBORO, N.C. --- It only took one season of football at Northwest Guilford for Tre Turner to earn six scholarship offers. Due to his brother, the 6-foot-4, 175-pound wide receiver is already very familiar with one of those offering schools – North Carolina.
“He’s a first-year player,” Northwest Guilford head coach Jared Rolfes said. “He’s got great footspeed when it comes to after the catch. His first move after the catch is one of the best I’ve ever seen; whether it’s a forearm or some type of body movement, he just knows how to use his body really well in space. He has really good hands. He’s probably faster than people think, but he has shown on film that he can really pull away from people. And obviously being 6-4 is a big deal at 15 years old – so he might be 6-5 or more by the time he’s a senior.”
A knee injury coupled with a focus on basketball kept Turner away from football during his freshman year. As a sophomore, he immediately burst onto the football scene.
“We kind of knew with his height and his size and what I saw [his freshman] year in basketball that he could be a pretty special football player,” Rolfes said. “It was pretty simple to see, actually.”
Playing receiver within Northwest Guilford’s multiple spread offense, Turner caught 60 passes for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“He’s one of our primary split [ends], so he gets into one-on-ones a lot,” Rolfes said. “And he’s isolated even in zone coverages. And we try to put him in those situations, because he’s really good when he touches the ball.”
During the football season, Duke became the first school to offer Turner a scholarship. Five other offers quickly followed – East Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
“Schools regionally are only starting to find out about him,” Rolfes said. “In the next month or two, I expect to see more faces… I really foresee it blowing up pretty big.”
For Turner, to go from not playing football since middle school to becoming a football recruit – especially this early – has been overwhelming.
“I didn’t see this happening,” Turner said. “But I’ve been pretty happy and I know everybody is proud of me. It was shocking, though.”
During the Winter Evaluation Period, Chris Kapilovic, who recruits Greensboro for UNC, called Rolfes to offer Turner and invite him to this past Saturday’s junior day. Turner gladly accepted.
Before Saturday, Turner was fairly familiar with UNC as a whole since his half-brother, P.J. Hairston, played basketball for the Tar Heels (2011-13). Thus, Turner’s goal during the junior day was to learn about the football program.
“I liked Coach [Gunter] Brewer, the receivers coach, a lot,” Turner said. “He’s a really cool dude. I like his energy. He acts like a little kid, but he’s so old.
“I learned that they throw the ball a lot. They showed me the offense. It seems like they have a swag to them.”
In addition to meeting Brewer for the first time, Turner and his father had a sit down meeting with Larry Fedora.
“He talked about how for a guy like me I’m obviously a good talent since I got an offer at this young of an age,” Turner said. “He wants me to come back more and go to the receivers' meetings.”
The unceremonious ending to his brother’s career -- after holding Hairston out the first 10 games of the 2013 basketball season while investigating potential rules violations, UNC decided not to seek his NCAA reinstatement -- won’t affect Turner’s feelings towards UNC, he said. Instead, he has learned from his brother's mistakes.
“It pushes me to make the smart choices and don’t bring new people into your life that are going to affect you,” Turner said. “And just stay on my course.”
Besides UNC, Turner has visited Duke and NC State. He was forced to cut the NC State stay short, so he may return this weekend. He’s also working on a trip to Wake Forest.
Football isn’t the only sport Turner is being recruited for. He has received a basketball offer from Maryland Eastern Shore and expects more opportunities to arise in the coming months.
“As I look at it right now, I’d love to play both [sports in college],” Turner said. “I just want to help a school out anyway I can. I really don’t want to think about picking one sport right now.”
At least with UNC, Turner won’t be forced to choose between football and basketball.
“Actually, my mom talked to Roy [Williams] recently,” Turner said. “They were talking about P.J. getting traded and he talked about me and a walk-on position. He said that I could have a walk-on position if I wanted one.”
Turner actually grew up a Duke fan, but slowly switched his allegiance because of his brother… Northwest Guilford, which is 22-3, will host Winston-Salem (N.C.) Reynolds in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A basketball playoffs on Thursday. Turner is averaging 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals on the season.