ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Turner Leaves To Pursue Pro Dream
LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State running back Kenny Turner has hired an agent and will not return to New Mexico State University next season, instead opting to enter the NFL Draft, the school announced Friday.
Turner had a big junior year for the Aggies in 2011, rushing for 1,074 yards on 206 carries (4.9 yards per attempt), while scoring 10 rushing touchdowns. He added 46 catches for 514 yards and three TDs.
In a statement released by the school, Turner thanked coach DeWayne Walker and NMSU for giving him a chance to play Division I football. Turner said his age (26) is a major factor in a “very difficult” decision to chase his NFL dream immediately.
“When it came down to it, I was going to be 27 years old, and in the NFL and at the running back position, age is a factor,” said Turner.
Turner lost five years of football development behind prison walls instead. He was convicted of second-degree felony charges for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. When he was 16, he shot and wounded two people outside a Florida gas station.
Turner played two seasons for NMSU after he rushed for more than 1,500 yards at Fullerton (Calif.) College in 2009.
“He understands through this process that he must graduate, and Kenny promised me that he would take care of that piece of it,” said Walker. “We hate to see him leave but I do understand his decision, and we are going to support it.”
With Turner’s departure, the leading returning rusher would be Robert Clay, who carried 42 times for 133 yards and a touchdown during NMSU’s 4-9 2011 season. New Mexico State also will be working under another new offensive coordinator, former Kent State assistant Jerry McManus.
SIGNEES: NMSU on Friday released a list of 14 players who are now in school and will comprise the majority of the 2012 signing class. They include former Cleveland High lineman Abram Holland, listed as a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive tackle, and one other “grayshirt” (a recruit from last year who delayed enrollment until this semester).
In addition to 10 players from two-year schools, defensive tackle Mark Brown and long snapper Mike Kaiser have been awarded scholarships.
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal