Vols Have Sights Set on Big-Time Target

It's interesting to note that the Cadillac of wide receivers in the Class of 2005 might well be a P.T. Cruiser aka Patrick Turner of Goodpasture High School in Madison.

Standing an imposing 6-foot-5, 217 pounds, Turner has the speed and wing span to take flight on a football field and the hands to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He did just that in the 2002 Tennessee high school playoffs against David Lipscomb High School, hauling in a fade pass in the corner of the end zone with 10 ticks left on the clock and his team's season on the edge extinction.

Faced with heavy traffic caused by a combination of multiple coverage packages throughout his high school career, Turner has learned to live in that area above the field that no zone and precious few defensive backs can reach. It's precisely Turner's ability to cover ground and exploit air space that makes the Goodpasture High School gridiron product one of the nation's top three receivers (rated No. 3 by The Insiders) in the nation and arguably the most gifted wideout the Volunteer State has produced since Larry Seivers.

"They like to play a triangle on me with the linebacker guarding me on the inside and the corner on the line of scrimmage and the safety on top of the corner," Turner explained of the typical coverage scheme he faces. "I was like the only one producing last year, but there'll be some help this year."

A former sprinter, Turner brings mobility to the flanks with a 4.53 clocking in the 40, but it's his talent for blending finesse and physical play that is perhaps his most impressive feature in football competition.

"My strong point is going up and getting the ball," Turner said. "Even if you're playing good defense I'll still have more chances than the defense expects. I know how to use my body to shield the defender."

Turner is surprisingly elusive in the open field and very strong for a wide receiver. He bench presses 275 pounds, an impressive feat for a player with long arms, and he squats 400. The total package he is as effective blocking as he catching passes.

"Turner has excellent footwork and runs precise routes," said The Insiders Scott Kennedy. "He can make a defensive back miss with a shifty move, and with his size, he uses his off arm as a weapon to stiff arm would-be tacklers. With his size, he also takes great pride in his blocking. He is just as physical without the ball as he is with the ball in his hands."

Although he has skipped the camp and combine circuit this summer, Turner has been very busy trying to improve himself as a player.

"I've got a lot of friends that got to TSU (Tennessee State University) so I've been doing a lot of work with them," he said. "I've just been training. We have a workout schedule at the school (Goodpasture)," he said. "I can't work out at Vanderbilt's weight room because the coach's office is right there. I work out on their football field some. We scrimmage some 7-on-7 with TSU and Western Kentucky and MTSU."

Obviously Tuner is a high value recruiting target for high profile programs across the country, especially Tennessee. But he doesn't appear close to making a decision or even whittling down the field of contenders at this point. He plans to take most of his visits after the Cougars season concludes.

"It's crazy," Turner said of the attention he's attracting. "I never expected it to be all of this. I get all this mail and they tell me you're going to be this and you're going to be that. I don't have to worry about my head getting too big because mommy and daddy won't have that. I'm just trying to take it in stride and go with the flow. I get like six letters a day at the house. I get a lot at school, too. I think I've been offered by about everybody but Florida State and Ohio State."

Patrick Turner said he doesn't currently have a favorite among the schools seeking his services, but he was something of a Miami fan in his early youth.

"I like everybody," he said. "I really like UT and Florida even though they hate each other."

There's nothing Tennessee would hate worst than losing this big-time prospect to the Gators. Editor's Note: A much longer version of this story is featured in Rocky Top News pre-recruiting football issue which is scheduled to hit the stands this week.

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