A.J. Turner was a little spun around. Physically, not figuratively.
And like any good football player, he figured one good hit deserved another.
As he returned a kickoff against Missouri, he didn’t see it coming. And he got walloped as linebacker Tavon Ross launched into him, catching his shoulder, turning him around and bouncing him to the turf.
“I did get blindsided, though, I’m not going to lie,” Turner said. “I did not see it, and he definitely left his feet and hit me.
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“Have to deliver the punishment as well.”
One can debate the question of targeting. It was probably launching, though no direct collision of heads was involved.
It did spur Turner to deliver some payback.
“I was kind of high after it. I was like, ‘Man, I just got smacked,’ ” Turner said. “ ‘I got to get him back in a clean and fair way.’ That’s what I tried to do.”
Since Ross wasn’t on the starting defense, safety Ronnell Perkins bore the brunt of that.
Turner got the ball on a jet sweep. Perkins came up from the deep defensive backfield, dropping in for the tackle.
But Turner dropped his shoulder, catching Perkins. Off the impact that left Perkins on the ground, Turner popped up and went 6 more yards.
Turner, at times, seems suited for third-down duty in the Gamecocks backfield. He’s fast and more than 25 pounds lighter than teammates Ty’Son Williams and Rico Dowdle.
He doesn’t mind a little underestimation.
“I think people look at me, I’m not like 220, I’m 190,” Turner said. “They probably just think I’m a fast guy and I can only run outside. I’ll let them think that. I know what I’m capable of.”