When Julius Turner announced his commitment to Rutgers and signed his National Letter of Intent with the Scarlet Knights, the anticipation of arriving to the Banks began in the back of his mind.
Now, the Meridian (Miss.) defensive tackle is only two weeks away from heading up to New Jersey for good.
Unlike the remaining majority of his 2016 recruiting classmates, Turner reports to Rutgers for a meeting with the football team May 30. He enrolls and begins summer workouts June 1.
And while it’s quite the hike from his home tucked down in Mississippi, Turner is ready to embark on that journey.
“I’m ready, man,” Turner said. “I’m excited, man. … I know it’s gonna be a big move for my mom, man. But me, I’m ready for the culture change. I’m ready to start something new. I’m ready to play in the Big Ten.”
That opportunity to play in one of the nation’s premiere collegiate athletic conferences came for Turner after he flipped from Louisiana Tech to Rutgers on National Signing Day,. It gave coach Chris Ash a late addition for the Scarlet Knights’ 18-member recruiting class of 2016.
Entering with a 6-foot-2, 270-pound frame, Turner has a promising physical makeup to work with when he gets in the mix with the new staff.
But for good measure, he’s spent his spring with his head buried in a workout book — straight from the desk of Kenny Parker.
Mimicking the spinoff of Rutgers’ offseason workouts, Turner said he’s ready to embrace the grit and grind under his new head strength and conditioning coach.
"When I went down there for my official (visit), man, we talked,” Turner said, recalling an encounter with Parker in January prior to his decision. “It was a big part of the commitment. … We had a good talk, man, just telling me how much he could change my body. … So I’m ready to workout with him.”
Ready to go on the field and in the classroom — Turner said he will graduate with honors and is cleared academically to enroll at Rutgers — the only barrier between the defensive tackle and his arrival to Piscataway is time.
As soon as he completes that transition from high school prospect to college student-athlete, he is ready to follow Ash’s lead.
“I could tell that coach Ash was gonna change stuff (at Rutgers) when I went on my (official) visit,” Turner said. “He has it laid out,. He told us everything that was gonna be happening, be changing the opportunities, getting in the weight room, redoing the Hale Center, getting us a new dorm room. … I’m not really surprised with what he’s doing. I talked to him recently, so I think it’s a good way that he’s going right now.”