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Troubled Ohio State football recruit shot

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The alleged uplifting and saving power of sports only can go so far. Witness the case of Ohio State football recruit Jamel Turner, who was shot the night of June 19 — for the second time in three months. Turner was injured after being shot multiple times, and a 17-year-old girl in the same  house was killed.

Whatever the reason, trouble and Turner are on very intimate terms, though in this case Turner called the shooting into Youngstown (Ohio) police. The Vindicator of Youngstown details Turner’s checkered past:

Turner, The Vindicator’s defensive player of the year for football in 2008, was a standout at Ursuline High School and verbally committed to Ohio State.

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But later that school year he was dismissed from Ursuline’s basketball team, and last August he was ruled academically ineligible. He soon enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

Turner played football in 2009 at Fork Union and was a member of the track and field team, but was asked to leave the institution earlier this year.

In April, Turner was shot in the lower left ankle and right hip as unidentified assailants opened fire on a vehicle in which he was riding on Interstate 680.

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said Saturday night, “I’m so sad to hear of Jamel’s misfortune. I have not communicated with Jamel, but am certainly praying for him at this time.”

I’m sure there are suburban parents, the ones who have spent untold tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on their child’s sports development, who wonder where their kid’s scholarship is, while this thug (a popular term for, shall we say, your more urban athletes) can still waltz into Ohio State after all this.

First, that’s the breaks, folks. If your kid doesn’t have obvious, innate talent to start with, a Jamel Turner can come in at any time and outshine him. Second, it’s pretty clear that, for whatever reason, football may have been the only positive thing in Turner’s life. College coaches have their own reasons for wanting to “save” a troubled athlete. Often it has to do with coaches wanting to “save” their jobs. But it also has to do with knowing that for some players, it’s sports, or prison — or an early death.

Turner reportedly is in critical condition.

Written by rkcookjr

June 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

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