May 15, 2014

Turner 'thankful' for second chances


AUBURN | When Joseph Turner committed to Washington State last July, he admittedly was "all in."

The College of San Mateo cornerback followed his commitment up with a successful season, earning the ranking of the nation's No. 4 junior college corner. Turner was hopeful that he would graduate in December and enroll at Washington State the next month, but Turner's plans didn't unfold the way he hoped.

Turner ultimately failed to meet the requirements to graduate early. He would instead be a spring graduate, and that development caused Washington State to make a move that surprised Turner at the time.

"They pulled my scholarship without fully telling me until basically signing day. I didn't know what to do," he told

Turner hoped programs would call and he wouldn't be forgotten.

"I knew I had a good season -- I was a bit discouraged. But I knew my recruitment would open back up," he said.

Turner's scary uncertainty regarding what was next might have felt like an eternity, but it only lasted days. That's when Turner's head coach at San Mateo received a call from an unlikely program.

"The following Monday, that's when Auburn contacted my coach and my coach called me," Turner recalled. "I had to ask him to say that again, 'the Auburn?' That was crazy, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know it would happen that fast. It didn't seem real. Next thing I know, I'm visiting that weekend, committing before I get home and signing. I'm thankful for the second chance."

Auburn wanted one more corner in the 2014 class and Turner fit the bill. Standing 6-feet-1, 180 pounds, Turner can play boundary or field corner, and even moonlight at safety if the need arises.

"They said because of my height and length, I'd be versatile enough to play corner, but maybe some at safety if I have to," Turner said. "But they didn't specify which corner I'd play. I'm just looking forward to my opportunity."

Turner grew up in Sacramento, California. Prior to his trip to official visit to Auburn in February, Turner had never visited the southeast, let alone Alabama. It was a truly life-changing experience.

"Honestly, I knew people were going to be country, but I knew nothing," Turner said. "I didn't know how serious football was to everyone. On the west coast, there's more things to do and more sports to follow, but down there, everybody wants to play football and loves football. That surprised me.

"But after meeting with the Auburn coaches, they embraced that family atmosphere. They really put my time in their guys. They wanted guys that can have good character and be good players as well -- they made me feel like it was home. Texas A&M was contacting me at the same time, but after Auburn, I didn't need to consider anyone else. I was all in with Auburn, I like how they treated me."

Turner's second visit to the southeast will be a more permanent one. Turner arrives in Auburn on May 24 to begin summer classes. He has already been executing the workouts that Tigers' strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell sent and hopes to gain at least seven more pounds by August.

"I'm going through the workouts the coaches sent me. I'm trying to finish up strong in school and be ready to get out there. I've been following up with those workouts that the coach sent me so I can be accustomed when I get down there," Turner said.

"My goals are to come in and compete immediately. I don't have time to waste."

Turner will have three years to play two upon his arrival.

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