USC Gamecocks Football

Gerald Turner focuses on fitness as college debut nears

Gerald Turner
Gerald Turner

Gerald Turner has spent his final weeks in Goose Creek preparing what he will face this summer at South Carolina.

Workouts. Conditioning. And more workouts.

Turner, a class of 2013 defensive line signee for the Gamecocks, turned to a personal trainer this spring to try and get used to the kind of conditioning and strength training he'll see at USC.

"That's what it's for, to give me a head start, so I don't go in there being lazy," said Turner, who is on track to enroll in July in time for the second summer semester.

The workouts are not like what he faced as a football player for the Gators.

"In high school we just run through drills and we can get conditioned doing that," he said. "Conditioning is just running and running. I've done pretty good."

Turner was 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds as school came to a close. He's hoping to be 245 this summer in Columbia.

He realized he had time on his hands after his high school career ended. In additional to weightlifting at Goose Creek, Turner did conditioning workouts - including flexibility drills and running - at nearby Charleston Southern.

Turner signed as a defensive end and could start out there or at linebacker.

"Because of his size, a lot of people had a hard time projecting where he was going to play," Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy said. "Is he a linebacker? Is he a defensive end? If he's a defensive end, is he undersized? Is he going to get big enough to be a defensive tackle?

"He's got great strength and he can run. He's a 4.6 guy. He's got really good speed for a big guy."

Turner played primarily as a defensive end as a senior. He recorded 49 tackles, eight sacks, eight passes defended and a forced fumble he returned 20 yards for a touchdown.

Turner said he won't be picky about where he plays for the Gamecocks.

"Right now it's about getting on the field," Turner said. "In high school I could have played any position. I was athletic enough. Anywhere they need me to play, I'm going to play. It all depends on me and how hard I work."

Turner was recruited by Steve Spurrier Jr. but also had a connection with former defensive line coach Brad Lawing. He said he also has a good relationship with new D-line coach Deke Adams.

Turner shut down his recruitment after he committed to USC last March. He recalls not being a big fan of all the attention that comes with being a top prospect.

"Once I made my decision, I was going to be solid with it," Turner said. "I wasn't going to break that decision. I wasn't going to change my mind."

Turner wasn't one to look around and didn't want to go far from home, Reedy said. When he committed to the Gamecocks, Reedy said, Turner was locked in.

Turner could be used similar to USC great Eric Norwood or grow into someone who's similar to Melvin Ingram, Reedy believes.

"I think South Carolina is going to be very pleased when they get him up there, wherever they play him," Reedy said. "He can play a lot of places. He can play offense if they need him to play offense. Fullback and tight end. He can do a lot of things."